Woman Dies on Liposuction Operating Table

Family thinks surgeon ruptured an artery, causing the patient's death

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The new device uses a high-powered stream of water to blast fat cells before suctioning them out

    In another instance of cosmetic surgery tragedy, a seemingly healthy woman trying to improve her body's image has died during a South Florida liposuction procedure.

    On Dec. 27, 35-year-old Lidvian Zelaya went into cardiac arrest during some point during the procedure at Strax Rejuvenation and Aesthetics Institute in Lauderhill and died in the facility, her family said at a press conference Thursday.

    The Miami woman was about 15 pounds overweight and wanted to have the procedure to shed the pounds, her husband, Osvaldo Vargas, said.

    "He thought his wife was beautiful the way she was. This was something she wanted," said Vargas' attorney, Spencer Aronfeld.

    Strax, which markets itself as a high volume, discounted cosmetic surgery outfit, has not commented on the death. An attorney for the company did say the incident is under investigation.

    Although Zelaya's husband has hired an attorney, there was no mention of a lawsuit at the press conference. He did say the family wanted more answers from Strax.

    Family members believe that the surgeon performing the surgery may have severed an artery, which caused Zelaya to have a heart attack. The official diagnosis is that Zelaya died from pulmonary embolism, which means a blood clot likely caused the attack.

    The Broward medical Examiner's Office is performing an autopsy.

    It's the second time in as many years that a patient looking to improve their looks has ended up dead.

    Rohie Kah-Orukotan was also a healthy woman, but died during a procedure at Weston MedSpa. The spa was eventually shut down and the doctor had his medical license revoked.

    Strax has three locations in South Florida, including the one in Lauderhill.

    Local cosmetic surgeons are upset at the recent announcement of another patient's demise, and say it just adds another black eye to the profession.

    "I have had many former Strax customers seeking revision surgery," said Lenny Hochstein, a nationally recognized cosmetic surgeon who practices out of Aventura. "It effects the whole industry when something like this happens."