Family of woman who died in botched surgery files lawsuit


The family of a 42-year-old Las Vegas woman who died after a botched cosmetics procedure on her buttocks is suing a Colombian husband and wife who performed the illegal plastic surgery.

Ruben Dario Matallana-Galvas, 56, and Carmen Olfidia Torres-Sanchez, 47, are both serving four to eight years in prison for the death of Elena Caro, a mother of three. They were sentenced in October.

Caro's husband, Oscar Canale, their two children, and her daughter, Janet Villalobos, filed two separate wrongful death lawsuits.

The lawsuits name as defendants the couple and the businesses Tiles N More and Sinaloa Beauty Salon, with owners and employees of those businesses. The surgery was performed in the back room of Tiles N More, and Caro was referred to the Colombians by employees of the salon, court documents show.

"They're seeking damages for the loss of their wife and mother," said attorney Kevin Edwin Galliher, representing husband Canale and his two children.

Galliher said he is cooperating with lawyer Michaela Tramel, who represents Villalobos. Tramel didn't respond to a message seeking comment.

The lawsuits are asking for more than $10,000 in damages.

Authorities said the couple came to Las Vegas to operate an illegal medical practice and performed a buttocks enhancement that led to Caro's death April 9.

In August, the couple pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and practicing medicine without a license, both felonies, and conspiracy, a misdemeanor. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped a second-degree murder charge against them.

An autopsy showed Caro's death was caused by an unusual reaction to lidocaine. Caro died shortly after Matallana-Galvas injected her with "a gel-type substance" during the cut-rate procedure.

Matallana-Galvas had identified himself as a homeopathic doctor, and his wife, Torres-Sanchez, was a lawyer with the Colombian attorney general's office.

But authorities said that Matallana-Galvas did not have a license to perform plastic surgery in Colombia and that his wife is being terminated from her job as a government attorney in that country.

The couple were arrested at McCarran International Airport as they tried flee back to Colombia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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