Dublin woman (22) says cosmetic surgery trip to Turkey ‘ruined my life’

Jade Cooney signed up and paid a deposit after meeting a surgeon at a roadshow in a Dublin hotel last summer

Jade Cooney said she is still recovering months after the surgery in Turkey


A Dublin woman who travelled to Turkey for cosmetic surgery has said it “ruined my life” after developing severe complications and sepsis.

Jade Cooney (22), from Drimnagh, travelled to Turkey in October last year for liposuction, a tummy tuck and a breast lift.

“I needed 10 bags of blood in surgery. I woke up in ICU and I was in so much pain, my whole body was uncontrollably shaking,” she said.

Ms Cooney had a gastric sleeve in January 2021 and was undergoing the surgery to remove excess skin from the fat loss.

She signed up and paid a deposit after meeting a surgeon at a roadshow in a Dublin hotel last summer. The surgery, flights and accommodation cost €5,000 in total.

“They came over here and so many people were there and signed up... I thought it sounds like he knows what he’s doing,” she said.

The next month, Ms Cooney travelled to Turkey. On the morning of her surgery she was told her doctor had been changed after seeing another name on her wristband.

“When I got over there, they changed my surgeon after I had booked in with the surgeon I had met in Dublin and was comfortable with.

“I only noticed on my wristband, they didn’t even tell me,” she said.

Ms Cooney was told by hospital staff that if she still wanted the doctor she booked with, she would have to wait until Saturday, and went ahead with the surgery on that Thursday morning.

“You go into the theatre, scoot onto the bed and you are awake when they strap you down with leather straps on your wrists,” she said. “I started to panic.”

After 11 hours of surgery Ms Cooney said she woke up in the intensive care unit.

“I was only meant to be gone for six hours and I was 11 and a half hours gone,” she said.

“An hour later they brought me back to my room and my whole body was in agony. I couldn’t move and they put me in a wheelchair... I was screaming in pain.

“They put a blanket over me and gave me paracetamol.”

The next day Ms Cooney had a blood transfusion and stayed in the hospital for six days. On the second day of recovery, hospital staff told her she could be discharged to her hotel room.

“They wanted to send me to a hotel, and I kept saying no, I wanted to stay in the hospital. They wanted me two days after surgery to go to the hotel and that night I took a turn for the worst and was bedbound,” she said.

Ms Cooney flew home on her own after six days in Turkey on a flight that the company organised. “I had to cry for a wheelchair in the airport,” she said.

After her return to Ireland she developed sepsis and was referred to the Emergency Department in St James’s Hospital.

St James's Hospital. Photo: Mark Condren

“I was bleeding so bad every day and had to change my dressings four times a day. I went to DubDoc when it started to smell,” she said. “I had to sit in A&E for 18 hours.”

Four months on, Ms Cooney is still recovering from her botched surgery and her wound dressings are changed twice per week in her local health centre.

“In my middle section they cut very, very deep so it wasn’t healing. I still have two holes on the breast and on the stomach,” she said.

“My stomach isn’t flat, I’m swollen and I have a scar from one side of my hip around to the other. I feel worse. I don’t even have a belly button, it’s a straight line,” she said.

Ms Cooney said for people considering travelling to Turkey for surgery, “don’t. At least if you are over here you have something to fall back on”.

“When you are in another country it’s so hard because you have no one that you know, no one speaks English when you are trying to express how much pain you are in.

“I would not recommend it, you just want to come home. My body is worse, I have a huge medical debt, I’m still paying off the surgery and medical bills here.

“I don’t want to get anything done ever again,” she added.

On the advice of her doctors here in Ireland, Ms Cooney is now leaving the wounds to heal naturally.

“They are trying to let me heal naturally because it’s so far into the skin, it needs to heal,” she said.

“It has ruined my life between everything, mentally, physically. I wish I never even thought of going.”

Ms Cooney asked for a refund after the surgery but was told she had signed a consent form. She is still requesting her medical file.

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