Woman’s death during butt-lift surgery prompts UK-Turkey meeting
By News Desk
November 22, 2023 10:22 AM
British officials are to meet with counterparts in Turkey after the death of a British woman during so-called Brazilian butt lift surgery at a private hospital in Istanbul.
Melissa Kerr, 31, from Gorleston in Norfolk, travelled to the private Medicana Haznedar hospital for the buttock enlargement surgery in 2019.
She died at the hospital on the day of the surgery, which involves fat taken from elsewhere on the body being injected into the buttocks.
She died after injected fat entered a vein before moving and blocking her pulmonary artery. Her cause of death was recorded as pulmonary thromboembolism and fat embolism, with a secondary cause stated as elective cosmetic surgery.
An inquest into her death, which took place in Norwich earlier this year, heard that Kerr, who was self-conscious about her appearance, was given only “limited information regarding the risks and mortality rate” associated with the operation.
Norfolk's senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said that Ms Kerr was only given "limited information regarding the risks and mortality rate" from the operation.
Ms Lake wrote to the Department of Health and Social Care about her concerns after an inquest in September, saying: "I am concerned that patients travelling to Turkey for this procedure are not being made aware of the risks and the high mortality rate associated with this surgery."
She also raised concerns that there were "no or limited controls with regard to such surgery taking place".
Maria Caulfield, minister for mental health and women's health strategy, responded to Ms Lake, saying: "My officials will... be visiting Turkey shortly to meet with their counterparts.
"The intention is to discuss the regulatory framework, and the protections that are in place for UK nationals, and to identify concrete areas where the UK and Turkish authorities should work together to reduce the risks to patients in the future."
She added: "It is particularly important that those considering having the 'Brazilian Butt Lift' (BBL) procedure are made fully aware of the risks and have time to reflect fully on their decision ahead of surgery.
"As you note in the report, the risks associated with this procedure are high.
"The risk of death for BBL surgery is at least 10 times higher than many other cosmetic procedures, and it has the highest death rate of all cosmetic procedures.
"As you note, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has advised its members not to carry out Brazilian butt lift surgery until more is known about safer techniques for the procedure.
"The Government is considering how we can most effectively communicate with those considering medical treatment abroad, to ensure people are better informed about the risks ahead of surgery and understand the need to ensure appropriate aftercare, including considering when it may be safe to travel home."
Ms Caulfield said she hoped her response was "helpful in setting out how seriously the UK Government is taking the issues raised in your report".
The inquest into Ms Kerr's death happened five years after mother-of-three Leah Cambridge died from a fat clot caused by a BBL in Turkey in 2018.
The 29-year-old from Leeds travelled to a private clinic in the coastal city of Izmir for the operation after becoming paranoid about excess stomach weight gain, an inquest heard – despite being told by her partner she did not need surgery.
The Foreign Office says it is aware of over 25 British nationals who have died in Turkey since January 2019 following medical procedures.
Its website recommends that anyone planning to travel to Turkey for surgery, including dentistry, should read its advice and discuss their plans with their UK doctor before going ahead.–Guardian/SkyNews