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‘I Accepted My Wife the Way She Was’: Grieving Husband Loses Wife of 26 Years After She Travels to Dominican Republic for Fat Transfer Procedure with Doctor with Spotty Record

A Rikers Island captain and wife of almost three decades went to the Dominican Republic to get work done on her body and died shortly after the procedure last month.

The plastic surgeon who did the fatal operation, not only fled from the United States after pleading guilty to practicing medicine without a license but was put on blast on social media years ago by Grammy-winning artist Cardi B.

Dr. Hector Cabral (left), Tandra Bowser-Williams with her husband on their wedding day 26 years ago. (Facebook)

On Saturday, May 14, Tandra Bowser-Williams, an New York City Corrections officer, suffered a “small stroke” just one day after she underwent a fat transfer at Dr. Hector Cabral’s Centro Internacional de Cirugia Plástica Avanzada clinic in Santo Domingo.

Dr. Cabral had previously been prosecuted in New York by then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for performing similar surgeries without the proper credentials — jeopardizing the lives of American women hoping to achieve the perfect body.

Cabral, a physician who pleaded guilty in October 2011 to one count of unauthorized practice of medicine in the Empire State, specializes in butt lifts and fat transfers.

Bowser-Williams’ husband of 26 years, Curtis Williams, had planned to fly from NYC to the island to meet his wife at the clinic, but she transitioned before his arrival. 

He recalled the 49-year-old telling him on a phone call after the procedure how pleased he would be with the results of that Friday afternoon surgery. Sometime after the call, a nurse from the United Hearts Clinic contacted him to share his wife had suddenly taken ill. 

Williams described to the New York Daily News her last words to him, saying, “Her exact words to me were ‘You’re gonna love Dr. Cabral’s work.’ I didn’t care one way or another. I accepted my wife the way she was.”

He continued, “They brought my wife out of the medically induced coma so she could unlock her phone, so that’s how she was able to get in touch with me.”

The conversations with the medical professionals caring for his wife after he arrived used figurative language to describe what happened to her. Cabral said to the grieving husband that the stroke “swallowed her brain,” making her not functional.

Williams said he actually heard his wife in the background “complaining about her stomach and her butt.”

This was even more heartbreaking because he knew his wife to be a woman with “nerves of steel,” that balanced the Anna M. Kross Center in Rikers with authority and then was tender with her family which included a son.

“Everybody is distraught,” Williams said about his wife. “She was the heart, the lifeline of the family. The heartbeat.”

Her spouse was not the only one to sing her praises. President of the Correction Captains union Patrick Ferraiuolo called her a “good captain.”

Ferraiuolo said, “She was always a good captain, never tried to escape work, always worked in the jails, always worked with inmates. It’s a real loss. She certainly didn’t deserve this. She was a trooper.”

The Washington Heights community was targeted by the modern-day Dr. Frankenstein.  

At least ten women were lured from beauty parlors and health spas with the promise of hourglass-shaped bodies and wooed to come to his clinic in DR. However, court records show many of those women were left disfigured by his hands.

The doctor made a plea deal with prosecutors that allowed him not to serve any time in the American prison system in 2011. As a result, he was made to pay a $5,000 fine, $23,055 in restitution, and conduct 250 hours of community service in the Dominican Republic.

Over the past few years, Cabral’s clinic has been closed due to medical malpractice allegations and procedures that left former clients dead or seriously ill.

At least four women died in 2017 during their operations conducted by the plastic surgeon, and eight people from all throughout the five boroughs and two from Connecticut who engaged Cabral’s clinic came home with skin infections, dangerous bacterial infections, and other serious symptoms, including abdominal abscesses, pain, wound discharge, and fever, according to the New York Post.

Katherine Jacqueline Pérez Minaya traveled from the United States to Cabral’s clinic and had fatal heart attacks while on the surgery table in July of 2018.

At the beginning of the global pandemic, in May of 2019, rapper Cardi B took to her social media to put Cabral on blast and send condolences to one of his patients, Altagracia Díaz, who had just died after going to him for work.

She confessed that she was thinking about going to go to him for work, even scheduled the surgery, but backed out because her intuition kicked in for her.

She wrote, “I was once going to operate with him, but I had a feeling, and I did it with another doctor.”

“You realize that when God opens your eyes it is for a reason,” she continued to write on her Instagram. “I am sad, and it hurts because I know that the family is very hurt right now, but it could be my family that was suffering. This was like God giving me a sign.”

A composite of the events surrounding Bowser-Williams’ death was constructed by the Daily News by interviewing her family, friends, and work colleagues and from viewing medical billing papers, the publication stated.

Discovered from the review was that Cabral’s clinic paid for Williams’ travel to the island to see his wife and also footed the bill for all costs associated with the captain’s death, including the embalming of her body at the Dominican funeral home holding her before she gets shipped back to The States.

The records also showed that $400 was still owed to the clinic for Bowser-Williams’ surgery.

As of publishing, an investigation into Bowser-Williams’ death has yet to be started on the island.

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