A woman who went to Turkey to undergo weight loss surgery was “sent home to die” following complications.
To Die For: Cosmetic Surgery in Turkey airs tonight at 10pm on Virgin Media One, exploring the world and risks of medical tourism.
Leanne O'Driscoll, who features in the documentary, went to Turkey to undergo gastric sleeve surgery as the cost of surgery in Ireland was too high.
“When I checked in Ireland, I think at the time it was coming up at €14,000 euro,” she told Moncrieff.
“It was a bit expensive for me... I had the surgery in Turkey for €2,400.”
She first made contact with the service via a woman on WhatsApp, who did not ask for any medical information beyond their name, age and weight.
When Ms O’Driscoll arrived in Turkey with her group, she was immediately dropped at the hospital, where they received a blood test and tests on their lungs, hearts and kidneys.
“It was a fully running hospital, a private hospital,” she said. “It was lovely and clean. Everything was going well.”
Ms O’Driscoll actually had second thoughts about her surgery after seeing her friends get it and told the hospital she no longer wanted it – but they sedated her and brought her to surgery regardless.
“[After the procedure], I was very sick,” she said.
“I was vomiting – I'll be honest, I was vomiting blood. When [my friends] called the nurse, the nurse said that can be normal.
“They did an x-ray and said everything was okay and I could leave... but what was alarming for me was when the three girls came back from their procedures the day before, they were put into their PJs.
“When I came back from my procedure, they changed my hospital gown and put me into another surgical gown.”
Upon getting home to her partner, Ms O’Driscoll tried to rest and recover – but eventually rang her sister to ask her to help her move around.
“[My sister] saw me, and she started screaming,” she said.
“She ran down and got my partner, he ran upstairs, and she started screaming ‘Ring an ambulance, ring an ambulance’.”
At the hospital, Ms O’Driscoll learned she had a serious infection affecting her whole body.
“They told me my next of kin had to get to the hospital because I was dying.
“I just thought I was dizzy from dehydration – I actually had sepsis.
'Sent home to die'
She later learned the surgeons in Turkey “nicked her spleen” during the operation – but didn’t tell her that.
“They didn't tell me that because I'd have to pay extra for them to remove my spleen to keep me alive,” she said.
“But because I didn’t pay the extra money to them at the time, because I didn’t know it was going to happen, they just sent me home off my merry way to die.”
'People didn't recognise me'
Ms O’Driscoll said she will be on antibiotics for the rest of her life following this near-death experience and has to closely monitor her health.
“It took me over seven months to even go back to work,” she said.
“People didn't recognise me in my job that I'd worked with them over 20 years.”
Ms O’Driscoll attempted contacting the hospital – but they denied cutting her spleen during surgery.
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