warnings | 

Irish people warned about risks of going to Turkey for weight-loss procedures as third person dies

Amy MolloyIndependent.ie

Irish people have been warned about the risks of going to Turkey for cosmetic and weight-loss procedures after a number of deaths due to complications.

It comes following another death of an Irish woman who travelled to Turkey for a medical procedure this week.

The young mother (30s), who was from west Dublin, is understood to have undergone a bariatric (weight loss) procedure. The cause of her death is not yet known.

Members of her family are currently in Turkey and efforts to repatriate her body are underway.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it is aware of the case and is providing consular assistance, adding that it does not comment on the details of specific cases.

Turkey has become an increasingly popular destination for Irish people seeking to have dental, cosmetic and bariatric procedures carried out.

The surge in people travelling abroad for medical procedures has prompted the DFA to issue updated advice amid concerns about the rising number of people presenting at Irish hospitals with complications after returning home.

The DFA said it “is aware that some citizens have experienced complications in the course of their treatment in Turkey, and a number have died following medical procedures”.

A spokesperson said it would not confirm the number of deaths “to protect those who have been affected”.

Tributes have been paid to the woman who died this week, with friends telling Independent.ie she is a “genuine soul” who comes from “one of the nicest families you could ever meet”.

She is the third Irish person known to have died in Turkey after travelling for a procedure this year.

In April, mother-of-two Carol Sheehan from Co Waterford died after undergoing a medical procedure.

A father-of-three from Co Louth also passed away after flying to Turkey for dental treatment.

Tony Rogers travelled to Istanbul for an emergency procedure, but is understood to have taken ill afterwards. A notice posted on RIP.ie said he died suddenly.

Medical tourism agencies have been reporting increases in Irish business of between 150pc and 220pc in the last year following the lifting of Covid restrictions.

High costs, waiting lists of up to five years and the lack of availability of certain procedures in Ireland is leading people abroad.

People are being urged to inform themselves of both the risks and benefits of any procedures. They are also advised to discuss their plans carefully with their own doctor, dentist or hospital specialist before committing to any procedure abroad.

“Individuals should also familiarise themselves with any follow-up treatment or process that may be required, and be aware that they may encounter communication difficulties in a non-English speaking environment,” the DFA said.

Irish citizens considering treatment are also being advised to carry out independent research regarding the credentials of any provider by checking if they are accredited with the Turkish authorities.

Concerns are now growing about the rising rate of complications due to the “conveyor belt” system being adopted by some hospitals and clinics.

Patients have reported being operated on at 10pm at night and seeing “trolley loads” of people waiting to undergo cosmetic and weight-loss procedures.

Certain hospitals have been discharging patients to hotels for their aftercare, which Irish medics have described as “extremely worrying” due to hygiene and safety concerns.

The issue is also having a knock-on effect in Ireland. Hospitals are seeing a significant increase in patients presenting with complications after returning from surgery abroad.

Bariatric surgeons say they are having to carry out emergency procedures on patients who suffered issues after botched treatments in other countries and waiting lists here are being compounded as a result.

For example, St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin saw a near three-fold increase in the number of people presenting to its emergency department with complications between 2018 and 2021.

Independent.ie previously reported how some weight-loss clinics in Turkey are asking Irish influencers to promote medical procedures on their social media pages.

Clinics have been messaging female influencers with large followings on Instagram about collaborating to promote bariatric surgery.

Beauty blogger Aideen Kate Murphy revealed how she was contacted by an obesity clinic about undergoing a gastric band procedure.

“That’s pretty serious surgery and also something really personal for someone to go through, so to offer it up as if it were a make-up collaboration really shocked me,” she said.

This paper also previously highlighted how some Irish patients who were unhappy with plastic surgery procedures were made sign disclaimers stating they would not post anything negative about the companies on social media or take personal injury cases.


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