A family in the Midlands are warning over the dangers of cut-price weight loss surgery in Turkey. Brit surgeons have spoken out over botched operations, as thousands gamble with their health by opting for bargain bariatric surgery.
Gastric sleeves and bypasses can be bought for £3k at some hospitals in Turkey. Increasing numbers are turning to them, as NHS waiting lists hit huge numbers.
Surgeons told the Mirror people are risking their lives through botched ops and poor aftercare overseas. Builder Joe Thornley, 25, from South Normanton, died after a gastric sleeve procedure in Istanbul.
The surgeon told Joe’s devastated mum that he had a cardiac arrest, but a post-mortem revealed he had suffered internal bleeding at the site of the op. He booked a £3,000 operation online in a bid to slim down his 19-stone frame.
Julie, 58, said : “It looked like a nice hospital and it had good reviews. I didn’t think anything would go wrong.” The grieving mum said: “A few days later the so-called surgeon rang me and said he had a cardiac arrest and he couldn’t save him. I believed him.
“But when we had his body back the post-mortem found he had bled at the site of the operation. He died of internal bleeding. It was the aftercare, or they didn’t realise he was bleeding.”
Julie warned others: “I would tell anyone to be very, very careful where you go. Or don’t go at all. It’s not worth it.” The Foreign Office says 20 Brits have died during medical tourism trips to Turkey since January 2019.
Omar Khan, a consultant bariatric surgeon who performed two corrective surgeries in a week, said: “There is a perception that weight loss surgery is a bit like a tummy tuck. The problem is that when bariatric surgery goes wrong there’s the potential for catastrophic problems.” He added: “If there is a leak it can cause really severe infections and it needs to be managed quickly, appropriately and effectively.”
Specialist surgeon Nick Carter said: “I have had disasters of people who have had emergency operations a day or two after their procedures in Turkey and they have come back with issues. I have someone with mesh sticking out of their abdominal wall. One case presented… and [surgeons] had left some dead tissue inside them and they needed emergency surgery.”
It was happening in “every hospital” in the UK, Mr Carter said. He added: “Every bariatric surgeon I talk to has the same story.”
He added: “I have also heard from patients who say ‘I was poorly and they just pushed me out of hospital’. It would be wrong to say that’s happening in all Turkish hospitals, but certainly it is happening in some.”
Ahmed Ahmed, a consultant bariatric surgeon and Council member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “We strongly advise patients who are considering undergoing bariatric or other types of surgery abroad to research their options carefully.” He added: “While it may appear cheaper to undergo surgery abroad, standards and guidelines vary from country to country.”
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