(KUTV) -- A Utah woman went to Mexico for low cost weight-loss surgery. For months since, she’s been fighting a potentially deadly superbug.
The Utah Department of Health said she’s not the only one. Four Utahns so far have been linked to the bug, the agency reported Wednesday.
“After coming out of surgery I knew immediately that something was wrong," said Mindy Blohm, who was diagnosed with the bug.
Blohm said she’s had other surgeries., but knew while at the Grand View Hospital in Tijuana last October she was in trouble.
“This was something different than I experienced — the pain was so intense,” she said.
Blohm said she went through weightlossagents.com here in the U. S., which set her up with Dr. Mario Almanza at Grand View Hospital.
She said she wanted the procedure because she was having issues with her lap band; the weight-loss surgery was a bonus. Here in the states, the surgery would cost her $37,500. There, it was only $4,000.
“Traveling to Tijuana, I felt, was my option,” Blohm said.
But once she got home to Utah, she started running a 102 degree fever. She went to her doctor, who said she was septic — she had to go to the hospital.
“I said, ‘I don’t have insurance,’ and he said, 'You don’t have an option. This is life or death, we need to go now,'" Blohm said.
Hooked to multiple IV’s, her abdomen full of infection, doctors told her she had a superbug.
“They said, 'We don’t know which antibiotics are going to work, we are going to give you multiple,'" Blohm recounted.
The Utah Department of Health said an investigation was launched with the CDC and Mexican health officials, which found the hospital where Blohm had her surgery wasn’t properly cleaning and disinfecting surgical instruments.
“If patients have had surgical procedures either during or after August 2018, we do recommend that they seek out medical attention if they have had any complications or if they have noticed swelling, drainage, or redness at their surgical incisions," said Dr. Amanda Smith with the Utah Department of Health.
Smith said the department also does not recommend people going out of the U.S. for medical care.
“We would just encourage them to understand all of the associated risks and to understand that both the Utah Department of Health and the CDC are not able to assure either quality of care or patient safety outside of the United States," Smith said.
Blohm said now, months later, her wound is finally healing, but she’s been left with nearly $50,000 in medical bills.
“Unfortunately, we will lose our home because of this," she said.
She said answers from the wight loss agents she used to book the surgery have been hard to come by.
“All they say to me is, 'We will pass the information on to the provider,' and they never got back to us," Blohm said.
She said she wants others to learn from her experience.
“Very carefully do your research on which doctor you go with," she said. "I’ve lost 44 pounds since October 31, but it’s come at a pretty steep price.”