Silvia Idalia and the hospital in Madrid. | Efe

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Silvia Idalia Serrano, 34, has been in a coma in the intensive care unit of a Madrid private clinic since May 6.

A resident of Palma, originally from California, she underwent aesthetic surgery at the Hospital La Paz in Madrid on April 29 - breast reduction, liposuction and transfer to the buttocks. She was in the operating theatre for three and a half hours and was discharged; everything seemed fine.

Twenty-four hours later, however, the problems started. Accompanied by her partner, she went to emergencies at the hospital. A Mallorcan lawyer, Mar de la Loma, who is acting for her and her family, says: "They told her that she had to eat, that nothing was wrong."

On May 6, she was admitted, having been suffering with fever, vomiting, dizziness and fainting. "Intubated and sedated," notes her lawyer. "Silvia Idalia presents necrosis in all the areas where they had to open to carry out the operation." De la Loma has no doubt that the infection took place in the operating room. She also points to the neglect days later, despite the obvious problems that the woman had.

While Silvia clings to life, the clinic faces a lawsuit.