Miami Realtor Dies After Weight Loss Surgery In Colombia – NBC 6 South Florida

Dilay Escalante took care of her large family while helping them move from Venezuela to Miami.

“I started studying because of her. I started getting a job because of her,” said her brother Daivis Escalante.

To improve her life, Dilay went into real estate with Tainna Shepard, wife of NBC 6’s Willard Shepard.

“Dilay was my business partner, my best friend, my sister in life,” Tainna said.

Despite Dilay’s beauty, Tainna said the 46-year-old real estate agent wanted a change. She traveled to Colombia on April 20th to undergo gastric bypass surgery at the hands of Dr. Carlos Sales Puccini, who performed the same surgery on her in 2015.

Xihomara Contreras, Dilay’s aunt, accompanied them. She told NBC 6 that Dilay left the consultation with the doctor’s reassurance that she would be fine in three days.

Medical records show that Dilay was admitted to the Reina Catalina Clinic in Barranquilla on April 21. According to the documents, she came to the operating room at 3 p.m. in “good condition”, received a “sleeve” and was discharged the same day.

“I spoke to them afterwards and expressed my concern that Dilay was not left behind, not even under observation for 24 hours,” Tainna said, adding that Dilay started throwing up right after the surgery.

Her family said because she complained of constant pain and could not hold down fluids, the doctor had her come in for three days in a row for endoscopic dilations — procedures that stretch parts of the esophagus.

Tainna talked to her before the last one.

“She was very scared of the procedure and…she hoped it would work this time,” Tainna said.

But that didn’t stop the pain.

At 5 a.m. on April 28, Dilay left a note to the doctor’s assistant that she did not have the strength to take a doctor-ordered X-ray.

“…sorry for the time but I’m in a lot of pain…I need the doctor to send me something to put in the IV so I can walk…at the moment there’s nothing I can do because I could happen out on.” the street,” Dilay read in the message.

Her family said Dr. Sales Puccini came to the apartment three hours later and saw it in such poor condition that he said he was on his way to the clinic to prepare the operating room.

“He is gone. He left her. He didn’t call an ambulance. He left, ‘meet me at the hospital,'” Tainna said.

Oscar Aviles, a family friend, said they carried Dilay into his car and drove to the clinic the doctor ordered, but she was fading quickly so he took her to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

In a WhatsApp chat, Puccini told NBC 6, “There are no doubts about the surgery,” adding because it was a “bariatric reintervention … the stomach was tight and an endoscopic dilation was done, which is going well.” developed.”

He also said Dilay “did not undergo” the X-ray he requested.

Dilay’s aunt immediately filed a complaint with the local district attorney’s office.

“…Then they found out…he has eleven complaints with the district attorney’s office,” Tainna said.

NBC 6 investigators found that the Colombian Supreme Court ordered Dr. Sales ordered Puccini to pay the family of one of his patients nearly half a million dollars in 2021 after the man died following bariatric surgery that the court said was not approved by the medical community.
The operation was performed in another clinic.

Although the sign on his office door says he is a plastic surgeon, those credentials are being questioned by local prosecutors, who have accused him of lying to the Department of Education about his studies.

NBC 6 investigators asked Dr. Sales Puccini for his references and the charges he faces, but he did not respond.

“I wonder why he’s still operating,” Tainna said.

NBC 6 has reached out to the Reina Catalina Clinic, but we have received no response.

Tainna said she flew to Barranquilla to fly her friend’s remains home.

“For me it’s very difficult, heartbreaking and at the same time I have a mission, I have to understand what happened,” Tainna said.

Dilay’s family and friends are awaiting her autopsy reports to see what happened. They told NBC 6 they are sharing their story to warn others who are thinking of flying abroad to get a procedure like this.

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