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A mother-of-two has tragically died while undergoing weight loss surgery in Turkey.
Emma Morrissey, from Cheshire, died last summer after a surgeon accidentally punctured her abdomen while carrying out gastric sleeve surgery — which she was not eligible for on the NHS.
The private hospital in Antalya tried to claim that the 44-year-old died of ‘natural’ causes rather than the ‘massive bleed’ that actually killed her, a coroner has warned.
Jacqueline Devonish, senior coroner for Cheshire, has written to the company that arranged the procedure, Regenesis Health Travel, for failing to carry out the necessary checks to make sure Ms Morrissey was fit for the op.
She warned that there is a risk of deaths occurring in the future under similar circumstances unless ‘action is taken’.
Emma Morrissey, from Cheshire, died last summer after a surgeon accidentally punctured her abdomen while carrying out gastric sleeve surgery — which she was not eligible for on the NHS
The private hospital in Antalya tried to claim that the 44-year-old died of ‘natural’ causes rather than the ‘massive bleed’ that actually killed her, a coroner has warned
A report by the coroner details that Ms Morrissey flew to Turkey on July 6 last year for gastric sleeve surgery, which involves removing a large part of the stomach.
Those who undergo the procedure cannot eat as much as they did previously and feel fuller sooner.
It only available on the NHS to those who are obese and who have tried all other weight loss methods, agree to make healthy lifestyle changes post-surgery and are fit and healthy enough to have the op.
Ms Morrissey did not meet these criteria, so arranged to undergo the op at the private Termessos Hospital via health tourism company Regenisis.
Its website states that it provides ‘all flights, 24/7 transport service, interpreter service and accommodations to offer our patients ultimate comfort and care’.
But, during her operation on July 7, a surgeon perforated her abdomen with a medical instrument.
This triggered internal bleeding, which led to Ms Morrissey’s death the following day.
The coroner said that there is a risk of future deaths occurring unless action is taken.
Ms Devonish detailed that Regenesis UK relied on information Ms Morrissey provided about her health and ‘made no independent enquiries’ to confirm she was medically fit to undergo the op.
Additionally, there is no evidence that the form Ms Morrissey had to fill out on her health was created by an expert and it failed to ask about her family history.
The coroner also hit out at the Turkish authorities.
‘There has been no evidence of an investigation into the operating table death by the Ministry of Health in Turkey, the private Termessos Hospital or Regenesis UK despite Regenesis having been informed that the death had been caused by the surgeon during the operation,’ she wrote.
Jacqueline Devonish, senior coroner for Cheshire, has written to the company that arranged the procedure, Regenesis Health Travel, for failing to carry out the necessary checks to make sure Ms Morrissey was fit for the op
Hospital medics also failed to correctly prepare Ms Morrissey’s body for return to the UK, meaning she was at risk of decomposition and a health risk to professionals receiving her body in Britain.
Surgeons also claimed that the gastric sleeve op was not fully carried out due to Ms Morrissey’s bleed, according to the report. But UK experts found that it was complete and the Turkish team failed to identify the correct the site of the bleed.
Doctors in Turkey reported that Ms Morrissey died of natural causes, despite the ‘massive bleed’ triggered during the op being unnatural, Ms Devonish said.
She said: ‘The evidence before the inquest was that three incisions had been made to the abdomen, two of which were with a sharp instrument.’
She issued a prevention of future death report to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Warrington Council and Private Termessos Hastanesi.
She concluded that they have the power to take action to prevent similar deaths in the future and ordered them to respond to her by October 30.
MailOnline has contacted Regenesis for a comment.
What is gastric sleeve surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery is a type of weight loss surgery.
It is offered on the NHS, but only to those who are obese and who have tried all other weight loss methods.
The surgery involves removing a large part of the stomach, so it is much smaller than it was before.
Having a smaller stomach means you will not be able to eat as much as before the surgery and you will feel full sooner.
Before getting any weight loss surgery, patients are referred to a specialist clinic for an assessment to check if the operation is suitable.
This can involve checking:
- Physical health – using blood tests, X-rays and scans
- Diet and eating patterns
- Mental health – such as asking about your expectations of surgery, and whether you have any mental health conditions; this is to assess if you’ll be able to cope with the long-term lifestyle changes needed after weight loss surgery
Some people are advised to eat a calorie-controlled diet in the weeks before the surgery to help reduce the size of the liver. This makes the surgery easier and safer.