A tragic story involving a Mississippi mom and medical tourism is making international headlines.
Family and friends of Markita “KiKi” McIntyre of Biloxi confirmed that she died on May 6 in Tijuana, Mexico, while undergoing weight loss surgery. Doctors said she became unresponsive during the bariatric procedure and was pronounced dead.
The beloved makeup artist leaves behind three children; a daughter Serenity and two sons, KJ and Deshawn.
The 34-year-old had gastric sleeve surgery, a medical procedure that removes part of the stomach and joins the remaining portions together to make a new banana-sized stomach or “sleeve.”
Markita’s friend Francesca Moultrie told WLOX that she’s shocked and was in touch with her good girlfriend right before the procedure. Moultrie said she was scheduled to have the procedure as well but changed her mind.
“I talked to my friend throughout the entire process. We talked every day, and she was asking questions every day in the group, so she was very knowledgeable,” said Moultrie. “I asked her how she was doing and she said she was ok…I was going to talk to her after surgery around 2 or 3 p.m.”
However, she said she never received a call. Then, around 5 p.m., she received a call from her husband that Markita was unresponsive and had passed away.
“It was very devastating,” said Moultrie. “I just want to be a voice for these women about surgeries. Y’all are getting these surgeries and they are not healthy, and they’re not good for your body. Don’t do it. It was a wake-up call.”
WLOX also spoke with medical expert Dr. Donald Balder, certified general surgeon and founder of the Mississippi Institute of Weight Loss Surgery in Gulfport, who said he’s “never heard” of a bariatric patient dying in the U.S on the operating table.
“That’s extremely rare,” said Balder. “One of the problems with transiting surgery is obviously they might not have an appropriate work-up. So, there’s risks to it. But if you go to a seasoned surgeon, who’s done hundreds and thousands of cases, the risk goes down.”
He also noted that “sleeve surgery is the most common bariatric surgery received in Mexico” because of a stark price difference. The doctor who recently had to fix complications a 33-year-old received after gastric sleeve in a foreign country told WLOX that on average, the price of the surgery out of pocket is between $16,000-$18,000. The price in other countries is relatively lower, ranging from $4,000-$5,000 leading to “medical tourism”, or the practice of traveling to another country for medical procedures.
Recently, Hazel E confirmed that she suffered complications after undergoing a mommy makeover in Turkey and “nearly died” on the operating table.
A GoFundMe has been launched to help the children of Markita McIntyre and has raised more than $8,000 so far.
R.I.P. to this Queen.