Dr Fernando Garcia Govea with Tijuana Bariatrics, Tijuana Mexico - Mexico, ME

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I recently went to Tijuana to have lap band to VSG...

I recently went to Tijuana to have lap band to VSG revision surgery with Dr Fernando Garcia. I am giving the whole experience 3 stars for a few reasons.
1)Karen was my coordinator and she was very nice when I would call and speak with her on the phone, but otherwise communication was very poor. When I would email her I almost never got a response and/or the emails would get sent back saying the Tijuana Bariatrics email server/malibox was full. I never did get a reply on medication questions for pre-op, etc from Karen and the day I was leaving for surgery was coming and I still had heard nothing back from her. I was able to reach her by phone and get her to contact the driver so I could confirm they would be picking us up. Multiple people commented that "your coordinator didn't tell you this"- no i received no communication from her the whole time except the welcome info packet. I just felt this is an area y'all could really work on for future patients. Maybe it was just Karen and had I had another coordinator this issue would have been resolved.
2) I had my surgery and everything seemed to go fine. I had told them I was allergic to Morphine and it was on ALL of my paperwork/my board in the hospital room/etc. However, when I awoke from surgery I was vomiting continuously/violently this blue dye stuff they put in me. I felt like my skin was crawling. I was crying and vomiting and started to feel like my throat was closing but no one was there. Maybe they were in the room- i can't be sure because they had a curtain pulled. A female nurse came in and I asked what they gave me- she didn't speak a lot of English but she said Morphine. This protracted involuntary vomiting for hours is one of the things that happens when I get Morphine. I was kicking and screaming and tears were pouring down my face and i was absolutely miserable (never before in any surgery have i woke up feeling like this). They finally sent a male nurse to come in and say "You need to calm down!" and walked off. I did not feel this recovery care was adequate. Finally after what i would guess to be 3-4 hours in recovery I was taken to my room and soon after told to walk. That was fine. I got up to walk around slowly. But i noticed a few hours after getting back to my room my drain was full of blood. The nurse emptied it. Then an hour later it was full again. Then full again. My husband says they emptied it about 5 times and said "this is not normal" and called in a very nice Radiologist- he did an ultrasound and I was bleeding out internally. I remember looking at my blood pressure on the machine and it was 70 something/30something. Anyways, they took me back down to surgery which my husband says I was gone for 4 hours till about 1 in the morning. I opened my eyes in the OR as they were done and I saw the bag of blood hanging. They told me I had to receive a blood transfusion of 2 units of blood. Dr Velazco said I was lucky because I am A- blood type and they usually only have one unit of it at the blood bank. So whoever donated- I appreciate that. The next evening I spiked a fever and they said they were concerned I was developing a reaction to the blood transfusion the day before. They wanted to keep me an extra day but I absolutely did not want to stay and extra day at the hospital. I was feeling pretty good and they kept pumping me full of steroids the whole time i was there. Between the steroids/the blood transfusion/all the IV fluids (i counted 8 bags myself- i am sure i was given more) I gained 19 pounds of fluid. I wanted that IV out ASAP. Anyways, Dr Velazco was sweet and said if I passed my chest x-ray, urine test, and leak test they would let me go. I passed all those and got to go back to the hotel.
3) There were more communication issues. I kept asking if I was going to get to meet with the nutritionist as no one had told me anything at all about it. One time when I asked I was told I already met with her. I said I had not. They went to check and said no I hadn't- i believe either myself or my husband would know if we had met with a nutritionist or not LOL. Anyways, i was told she would meet me in the hotel lobby at a certain time, i went and the nutritionist showed up but said I needed to come join the group. I said I was not aware there was a group. She said "no one told you this was a group class?" No. No one told me that and if they had I probably would have skipped it. I am very shy and don't usually do group class stuff like that. Anyways, the other ladies in the group were so nice and it was actually good to get to see others who had come for the same reason. Linda (nutritionist) was very good and I have no complaints about her at all.
4) Atalia was the nurse that was supposed to come check on us at the hotel and check my dressings or change them, etc. She came to other peoples rooms and I waited in mine but she never showed up at all. I am not sure what the deal was or if I was supposed to go somewhere or what but the last I heard from her was she would come to my room. I seemed fine so I didn't call to ask why she didn't come- i probably would have if i was having any issues. The last time any medical person looked at my wounds was Dr Velazco before I was discharged from the hospital on a Wednesday. I flew home Friday. I think maybe there was more communication issues there.

So that is why I gave it 3 stars instead of 4 or 5. I was not able to find anyone with a complication from Dr Fernando Garcia and I just wanted to be very open and honest so that others can see the "what if". I am 33 years old. I have no high blood pressure, no high cholesterol, no diabetes...no real medical problems at all other than obesity. I was NOT expecting any complications from this procedure as my BMI was only 35. I was probably one of the youngest, healthiest, lowest BMI and lowest risk patients there. Yet I am the one who had complications.

Honestly, this is not a negative review. It is just an honest one. Yes I had a complication but Dr Garcia acted fast to take care of the problem. The hospital was very nice/clean/beautiful. The nurses were sweet but didn't speak much English (use google translate- download it on your phone before you go to Mexico). There is nothing scary about the Marriott. There is nothing scary at all about Tijuana if you just go for your surgery and stay at the hotel. There are some rough places in the city but we chose to go on a tour- Junior was great. He took care of us on our tour.

I am a nurse and I felt like this was a safe, clean environment. The nurses all used good infection control measures. It was not scary as far as any of that goes. This is just my personal opinion as I cannot prove what I was given. But i believe my initial surgery went fine, I believe I was given Morphine that I was allergic to causing such severe vomiting for 2 hours that caused the surgery to bust open internally and that is what caused me to have to go back into surgery for the second time that day and have to get a blood transfusion. When I asked Dr Garcia about the Morphine he said he didn't believe I had a true allergy/they thought it was just side effects i was reporting (and so I guess thats why they went ahead and gave it to me). Bottom line is they knew months in advance I was coming and that I was allergic to Morphine. If it was an issue they should have told me and I would have paid for them to get some other kind of medication. And also- if my U.S. surgeon says it is a true allergy- who are you to say it is not? I don't feel like that is any of y'alls place to question whether or not it was a true allergy- obviously it was because it was severe enough of a reaction to almost kill me if not for the second surgery. That is the only thing I am upset about. I told them it was an allergy and I believe I was given it anyway. Dr Garcia never would say that I didn't get the Morphine- when I asked he just said "No more Morphine". I woke up feeling awesome after the second surgery. No issues in recovery at all. I ended up having to pay an extra $1200 or so for the second surgery and the 2 blood transfusions. They said it had to be paid for me to leave the hospital. Normally in the US i would have argued about this but after everything I went through I just paid it and left because there was no way I was going to Mexican jail. I just wanted to go home. *Note: one week after returning home I had post-op labs done at an Urgent Care just to make sure I wasn't losing anymore blood and my Eosinophils were SUPER high- the endocrinologist says this is consistent with me being given a medication I was allergic to. They have never been high before).

So to recap- i did have a complication that was handled quickly. Dr Garcia did come to the room and said "Sorry for the complication". Everyone was nice. The hospital was beautiful and clean. You will love Dr Velazco and the other doctors there as well. It is not scary. But, if I could have possibly done the surgery in the US I would have. However, my insurance excludes all bariatric procedures. I am having no post-op complications other than my thyroid randomly shut down (no history of thyroid problems) one week after the surgery. Evidently the stress of everything on my body caused it to shut down is what the Endocrinologist I just saw told me. My wounds are already healed over. I am thankful for the way Dr Garcia handled the complication.
Dr Fernando Garcia

Dr Garcia is nice, quiet, to the point.

3 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
2 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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