Turkey’s gastric sleeve op: UK mum-of-four, 32, latest to die due to weight-loss surgery
A mother-of-four from Northern Ireland has become the latest person to die after undergoing a gastric sleeve operation in Turkey in order to lose weight.
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A mother-of-four from the UK has become the latest to die after undergoing a gastric sleeve operation in Turkey, despite the procedure’s popularity among Britons looking to lose weight. Shannon Meenan Bowse from Londonderry was 32 when she died in August.
And now, her father, Shane Meenan told the BBC has urged people to think again before doing the same. He said his daughter travelled for a gastric sleeve operation 18 months ago but got sick almost straight away.
He also said Shannon could not keep any food down after the operation and her condition deteriorated until her teeth began to rot due to constant vomiting. The family were told she died in Altnagelvin Hospital from “malnutrition due to gastric sleeve.”
Dr Nicola Herron, a Derry-based GP, said the experience of Ms Meenan Browse and her family was “beyond heart-breaking”, adding that doctors in Northern Ireland were becoming increasingly concerned about people travelling abroad for surgery.
She said: “The professionals here are sometimes at a loss as to how to look after people who have come back after this major surgery - because this is a specialist area. That is very worrying.” She added most people don’t realise how serious the surgery can be.
Mr Meenan, meanwhile, told BBC Radio Foyle, that his daughter’s death had lost him his heart and soul and he wants others who are thinking about travelling for surgery abroad to know it is about more than “just paying the money and booking in and getting it.”
Mr Meenan said the only food his daughter could eat without throwing up was broth from ready-made noodles. He said: “She was getting very sick because all she was doing was throwing up and sleeping - that’s all she could do.”
He said Shannon soon needed emergency surgery, but she “got sicker” after the malnutrition eventually killed her liver and her kidneys. He said: “They then phoned us and told us she was dying and there was nothing they could do and all the machines were switched off.”
Now, he wants others who are thinking about travelling for surgery abroad to know that it is about more than “just paying the money and booking in and getting it”.
Shannon’s tragic death is the most recent involving weight loss surgery in Turkey. According to a BBC investigation report in March, seven British patients have died after receiving weight loss surgery in Turkey, while others returned home with serious health issues.
Weight loss treatments are available on the NHS. However, long wait times and the high cost of private healthcare have led some patients to seek treatment abroad. These procedures typically cost between £9,500 and £15,000 in the UK when received from private practitioners. Prices in Turkey are significantly lower, sometimes costing as little as £2,000.
The most common types of weight loss surgery include a gastric band, gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, working to increase weight loss as the stomach becomes fuller quicker. This is achieved either through the placement of a band, the joining of the top part of the stomach to the small intestine, or through the removal of part of the stomach.