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September 20, 2014

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Police say more people seeking treatment from unlicensed doctors

2 arrested in surgery death were performing buttocks enhancement, authorities say

Updated Monday, April 11, 2011 | 1:30 p.m.

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Ruben Dario Matallana-Galvas

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Carmen Olfidia Torres-Sanchez

The death of a woman this past weekend who was undergoing a cosmetic surgery procedure by two Colombian nationals follows a pattern of people seeking treatment from fraudulent, unlicensed doctors in the valley, authorities say.

Las Vegas resident Elena Caro, 42, died at a hospital Saturday following the procedure, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office. Her cause of her death has not been determined.

Those who allegedly performed the procedure — Ruben Dario Matallana-Galvas, 55, and Carmen Olfidia Torres-Sanchez, 47 — were arrested at McCarran International Airport on Saturday night in connection with her death as they were trying to catch a flight to Medillin, Colombia.

Metro Police Lt. Lew Roberts said this is the first death in recent years related to fraudulent medical practices, but other people have been injured at makeshift doctors' offices in the Las Vegas area.

"The tragic thing about this case is that this isn't an isolated incident of somebody going to an unlicensed alleged medical facility," he said.

The incident began when police responded at 5:58 p.m. Saturday to 3310 E. Charleston Blvd. to investigate reports of a missing woman under suspicious circumstances, officials said.

Caro's daughter had dropped her off at the location — a two-room office in the back of a floor tile business — earlier in the day to undergo the cosmetic surgical procedure for a buttocks enhancement, according to a police arrest report.

The daughter watched Matallana-Galvas and Torres-Sanchez give Caro an injection in the buttocks area before she left and was told to return several hours later, police noted in the report. Caro called her daughter later in the day to say the procedure wouldn't be done for at least another three hours, according to the arrest report.

When she returned later to pick up her mother, however, the business was abandoned and Caro was missing, authorities said.

Police said Caro had been taken by ambulance from a location several miles away, in the 3500 block of East Lake Mead Boulevard, to North Vista Hospital.

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Metro Police Lt. Lew Roberts discusses the death of 42-year-old Elena Caro, who died while apparently undergoing a cosmetic surgical procedure by two Colombian nationals.

Detectives aren't sure why the suspects left Caro in the area of Lake Mead Boulevard, Roberts said. People in the area called 911 to get help for the victim.

"Apparently, she was in a lot of pain, and she was visibly requesting help," Roberts said.

Police didn't elaborate on possible causes of her death, citing pending toxicology reports.

When police found the two suspects at the airport, Matallana-Galvas allegedly told detectives he was a homeopathic doctor in Colombia but not a licensed doctor in Nevada, according to the arrest report. He said Caro walked out of the office after he administered the procedure, which he allegedly admitted to not having the correct equipment to perform.

Meanwhile, police interviewed Elizabeth Flores, an assistant to Matallana-Galvas, who said he asked her to cancel appointments for the remainder of the afternoon because "something had gone wrong," the arrest report alleges.

Matallana-Galvas then asked Flores' husband to drive him and his wife to the airport, according to the arrest report.

Mantallana-Galvas and Torres-Sanchez each were charged with one count of murder and booked into the Clark County Detention Center.

As the investigation continues, police said they will interview the owner of the tile shop where the operation had been housed, as well as seek other possible victims.

Authorities are asking anyone with information or knowledge of the suspects, including anyone who might have received medical care from them, to contact Metro's homicide detail at (702) 828-3521 or, to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at (702) 385-5555 or visit www.crimestoppersofnv.com.

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  1. I bet neither of these two graduated from an accredited medical school. I would also bet neither of them have a license to practice medicine in Nevada, or any other state in the US.

    Columbian nationals from Medellin, Colombia who came all the way to the US to practice plastic surgery? I wonder how big the market for black market medicine is?

    I wonder what the unfortunate patients motivation for seeking plastic surgery from these folks was? Maybe because it was significantly cheaper than a hospital and licensed surgeon? Or, maybe for some reason the patient didn't want anyone above ground to know about it?

  2. Comment removed by moderator. Off topic.

  3. Clyde,
    Could you refrain from making idiotic remarks just once please? Especially in light of the recent scandals from doctors looking to save a buck infecting their patients with Hep c.

  4. A pair of real winners.

  5. Plastic surgery (unless a deforming injury or birth defect) is RARELY covered by any type of medical insurance. You can just about bet that this was cosmetic only and because board certified cosmetic surgeons do charge a substantial fee for their services...she was looking to get off cheap. I agree with BRASS, probably neither is qualified to practice medicine in this country. I just wish women would not buy into this "cheap cosmetic surgery hype" and think about what could go wrong with these procedures. Ladies, do your homework, only use board certified surgeons and save your money to pay them if it is really important to you. I'm sure your family would rather have you alive, than dead with bigger breasts or a flat stomach. Such a tragedy.

  6. Woman, vanity is thy name! In the name of "beauty," some women do the dumbest things. They go on extreme diets or spend zillions on fake lotions that promise to make 55-year-old hags look like 25-years-olds Barbie Dolls. Why don't they take a clue from someone like Barbara Bush and just let nature take it's wonderful course? Yeah, I know, there's lots of guys just as nuts. They think Viagra, Rogaine, wearing rugs or splashing on the 5-minute hair foam will make them young and virile again. The "beauty" industry lives for their folly!

  7. azsk8fan...
    There's a WHOLE LOTTA TRUTH in your words there; good post.

    Don't ANY OF YOU right-sider's unnerstand WHO BENEFITS from "ILLEGALS" in the USA???

    Don't ANY OF YOU remember ANYTHING before 2009???

    WHO LOVES CHEAP LABOR???

    "Selective Amnesia"...
    I'll bet there's a treatment for THAT!

    Poor woman. RIP.

  8. The dangers of these treatments all too often outweight the benefits. Whether your surgeon is board-certified or not, there can be serious complications:

    http://www.myfoxla.com/dpp/news/investig...

  9. This kind of barnyard surgery must end. Whatever the reason for the surgery there needs to be a better way.

  10. since this medical procedure was done at a back office of a tile shop why do I have the feeling of the so called doctor useing a bathroom tile cauking gun and cauk to do the procedure?

  11. There are a lot of Congressmen who want to bring the coat-hangers, dirty pocket knives and aspirin back. They are working very hard.