A mother claims liposuction nearly killed her after a botched procedure left her with rotting flesh around her midriff.
Beatrix Searles spent $4,200 (£3,300) on having unwanted fat removed from her abdomen, legs and back last October at a Colombian clinic.
Just days later, the 53-year-old, from Montana, claims the skin around her abdominal wound began rotting and turned black.
Although she was never officially diagnosed, she is thought to battled the flesh-eating disease necrotising fasciitis.
The truck driver alleges nurses at the clinic, which has not been named, failed to properly dress her wounds, leaving her at risk of infection.
She was then forced to undergo seven surgeries to correct the botched operation, leaving her with a severely-scarred midsection.
Miss Searles, who describes the ordeal as 'torture', wants her surgeon brought to to justice, claiming he is 'on the run'.
Miss Searles, who is mother to a 28-year-old daughter, opted to have liposuction after battling low self esteem.
'I originally wanted the operation as I weighed over 13st (182lbs) and wanted a little confidence boost,' she said.
'I did spend my time researching, and decided I needed liposuction on my leg, stomach and back.
'I chose Colombia because when I researched it was the country that specialised in the surgery I wanted and they did it at reasonable prices.
'I watched the surgery through their various YouTube channels and videos and I thought I knew what I was expecting. '
But Miss Searles soon realised the procedure was nothing like it looked in the videos.
'Whilst I was under, they literally cut the fat off my stomach and stitched me back up,' she said.
'The surgeon originally tried to fix what he'd done by using the skin from my back, and pulling it forward - but it went stiff and sore.'
Miss Searles believes poor hygiene practices at the clinic caused her wound to become infected.
'The nurses providing the aftercare used the same gloves for things like using their phone,' she said.
'I wasn't provided with anything I'd seen on the videos, like plastic wrapping over the surgery or a body suit to protect it.
'By the second day, it was red, inflamed and you could see - the skin was dying.'
Things then took a dramatic turn for the worse when Miss Searles' skin turned black.
'My skin started to [turn] black and die, I was on so much pain medication I couldn't feel anything - I just knew something was really badly wrong,' she said.
Miss Searles was forced to undergo additional operations, including a tummy tuck, in Colombia to fix the gaping hole left by her dead skin.
'I had to stay to get this done, as it needed fixing urgently,' she said.
'The hospital tried to oxygenate the skin but it had turned completely black.'
Miss Searles, who even spent her birthday in hospital, returned home to the US in January.
'I've been so scared and have spent most of my recovery crying all of the time,' she said.
'This has destroyed my confidence - it's been like torture.
'I can't look like this forever - I feel like I can't go out into public or wear a bikini or go to the beach.'
Miss Searles now wants to find the doctor who is responsible for her ordeal.
'No one can locate the surgeon who did this to me, and he's essentially missing in action,' she said.
'The last I heard, he had 34 cases being held against him.
'I'm still searching for answers over what went wrong, and have begged for explanations.
'My skin completely died and I've been left in constant pain. It's destroyed my life and I hope those responsible get brought to justice.'
Source: The Daily Mail