Hospitalised | 

Irish mum left with ‘shark-like bite’ on stomach after Turkey ‘mummy makeover’

The 50-year-old underwent a tummy tuck and liposuction at Ekol Hospitals in Izmir at the start of February. She also had a breast procedure.

Sharon Phelan had to undergo a blood transfusion and a surgical drain had to be attached to treat a severe infection after she returned home from a trip to Turkey for a ‘mummy makeover’. Photo: Mark Condren

Amy Molloy

An Irish woman who travelled to Turkey for a ‘mummy makeover’ package ended up in hospital for two weeks with a severe infection after returning home.

Sharon Phelan, a mother-of-two from Co Kilkenny, revealed how she woke up one morning and her mattress was “destroyed in blood”.

A part of her stomach where an incision was made “practically opened up” and she had to go to St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny for emergency treatment.

The 50-year-old underwent a tummy tuck and liposuction at Ekol Hospitals in Izmir at the start of February. She also had a breast procedure.

The package cost €4,950, including the operations, two nights in the hospital, five-nights accommodation at a hotel, all prescribed medication and flights.

Ms Phelan was due to be moved to a hotel 40 minutes from the hospital the day after the operations for her aftercare, but insisted on staying as she was worried about “something going wrong and being so far away”.

While she experienced some pain and discomfort following the operations, and felt unwell for a time, she was happy with how the procedures went.

Ekol signed off on a fit-to-fly certificate and she flew home on February 10. However, when she returned home, the problems started.

The area where the incision was made for the tummy tuck had become seriously infected. Ms Phelan provided pictures of the wound but they were too graphic to share.

“It looks like a shark bite across my stomach,” she said.

“They gave me medications and antibiotics to take and I took everything I was supposed to take.”

For the last two months, Ms Phelan has had a surgical drain attached to her in a bid to remove the infection. She also had to undergo a blood transfusion.

“It has left me feeling depressed and some days I don’t want to get out of bed.

"I’m afraid to cough or sneeze in case I do damage and I’m afraid of the wound opening up again. I’m not allowed to do anything strenuous and haven’t been able to return to work as a carer.”

Ms Phelan came across Ekol on a Facebook advert and said all her dealings with the hospital were through WhatsApp.

When she contacted the hospital about the infection, she received a reply on WhatsApp saying: “We have spoken with your surgeon. He said that it looks like you did not walk in a curved position (following surgery).

"For now, we would like to advise you to apply to your GP and change dressings and also take prescriptions for antibiotics. If you follow up all suggestions, it will heal in three weeks.”

She spent 15 days in St Luke’s Hospital and also had to visit her GP on a number of occasions.

Ms Phelan previously underwent a gastric sleeve procedure, where 80pc of the stomach is removed at a different clinic in Turkey and said the operation went “really well”.

In the aftermath, she experienced loose skin and contacted the clinic about undergoing liposuction and a tummy tuck, but their waiting list was months long. “When I contacted Ekol, they could practically take me straight away,” she said.

“I was meant to go to a hotel the day after my operation but I kicked up a fuss to stay in the hospital. They told me that they needed the room. Then they told me they would send me to an apartment across the road from the hospital, but I wanted to stay in the hospital in case anything went wrong.”

The Irish Independent contacted Ekol for comment but did not receive a response.

In a previous statement, the hospital said: “Our patients are closely followed by their surgeons during their stay at our hospital and they cannot be discharged without their surgeon’s consent. Our patients are regularly contacted and even after they go back to their country, our services continue.

“According to the statistics, complication rates of aesthetic surgeries conducted in Turkey are below the rates of aesthetic surgeries conducted all over the world.

“Our hospital prioritises our patients’ safety and thus act in such a way to increase our service quality.”

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