Woman woke up from Turkish weight-loss surgery next to bag containing her stomach
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A mum has warned others of cheap foreign weight-loss surgery after waking up to find her stomach in a bag next to her - which she had to throw in the bin.
Rosie Ritchie, 24, flew to Turkey for a £3k gastric sleeve operation with a cosmetic surgery provider - but she has described walls covered with blood and being strapped to an operating table by her wrists and ankles.
Post surgery she says she woke up with a medical bag next to her - with what looked like meat in. Rosie says she was told they were the remains of her stomach – and it needed to be kept with her for 72 hours in case it needed to be ‘put back in'. She says it was left next to her for three days, unrefrigerated in a sweltering room, until it grew mouldy and Rosie threw it in the bin herself.
Describing the ordeal, she said: ''I looked in one of the rooms downstairs and there was a huge jar filled with the fat they remove from liposuctions.
“The room was covered with blood, all over the walls and the floor. It looked like a massacre. That’s when I fully started to panic. I wanted to go home. They put me in the theatre, and the surgical team were speaking Turkish, so I couldn’t understand a word of it. They didn’t say anything to me.
“They asked me to lie down, and they strapped my ankles and wrists down to the bed while one of the women just stroked my face. I was asking for someone to please tell me what was happening – but they couldn’t understand me, and I couldn’t understand them. I thought I was going to die.”
She added: ''I woke up and looked to my side – and there was a bag next to me that looked like it was filled with chicken breast on top of mince. They said it was my stomach, and they had to keep it for 72 hours in case something went wrong, and they had to put it back in. It wasn’t refrigerated – it was in a bag, in a roasting hot room. The thing was growing mould by day three.''
Rosie, a mum of two, weighed 26 stone – and had been told by her GP that if she didn’t lose weight, she wouldn’t live past 30. After struggling with her weight all her life, Rosie, from Bellshill, Scotland, felt as though she had no options left but surgery.
She researched the company and found stellar reviews – and so booked the £3,000 procedure, paying a £300 deposit to secure her date. Staff consulted with Rosie over WhatsApp, where she informed the team of her medical history, weight, and penicillin allergy.
Doctors told Rosie that she had a hernia in her stomach and demanded another £2,000 to rectify it in surgery – but agreed to treat the hernia at no extra cost.
She said: "I’d gone to my GP, and they had said that if I didn’t lose weight, I wouldn’t make it to the age of 30. I looked online and did research on a lot of different companies, and the different kinds of weight loss surgeries available.
“I decided to get a gastric sleeve, where they cut out most of your stomach to reduce the size, as I needed something to stop me from binge eating. But I would’ve died of sepsis if they’d tried to put that thing back in my body. I had to move it to the corner of the room, so I didn’t have to look at it, and I eventually put it in the bin – it was traumatising.
“They were supposed to give me antibiotics after surgery, but because I’m allergic to penicillin, they didn’t give me anything. They didn’t even give me any painkillers after the surgery. I asked for all of their certificates and saw a lot of good reviews. I did really look into them.”
After three days in hospital, and four in their hotel, Rosie flew back to the UK to rest and recover. Unfortunately, Rosie began to suffer severe complications around six weeks after her surgery.
After three separate A&E visits, doctors found that Rosie’s stomach had been stitched too tightly, leading to difficulties keeping food down and severe bouts of vomiting. Now, months after the surgery, she is still dealing with complications, including recurring stomach pain, and ulceration in her stomach and oesophagus.
Doctors in the UK have been working over the past few months to expand her stomach entrance – but Rosie will have to wait to see if she will need a further gastric bypass to fix the complications from surgery abroad.
She has now lost 13.5 stone but is urging people in the UK to remain at home for medical procedures – claiming that it isn’t worth the risk. She said: “Don’t go abroad to get this done – if there is anything else that you can do instead of this, then do that. If you have to have the surgery done, please do it in the UK.”