Brazilian butt-lift surgery death prompts Turkey-UK meeting

Estimated read time 3 min read
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Image source, Natasha Kerr

The UK government said it would meet with officials in Turkey to discuss regulations around medical and cosmetic tourism, following several deaths.

Melissa Kerr, 31, died at the private Medicana Haznedar Hospital in Istanbul in 2019 during buttock enlargement (Brazilian butt-lift) surgery.

A coroner raised concerns she and others were not given enough information before travelling abroad.

Health minister Maria Caulfield said government took the issue “seriously”.

In her response to a prevention of future deaths report written by Norfolk senior coroner Jacqueline Lake, Ms Caufield said officials from the Department of Health and Social Care would be “visiting Turkey shortly to meet with their counterparts”.

Melissa Kerr

Image source, Natasha Kerr

In September, an inquest heard Ms Kerr, from Gorleston, Norfolk, suffered a fatal clot that had travelled to her lungs during the Brazilian butt-lift surgery (BBL).

The inquest was told BBL operations carried the highest risk of all cosmetic surgery procedures.

Ms Lake ruled that Ms Kerr had not been given enough information to make a safe decision and said “the danger to citizens who continue to travel abroad for such procedures continues… and I’m of the view future deaths can be prevented by way of better information”.

Medicana Haznedar Hospital

Image source, Google

Conservative Ms Caulfield, minister for mental health and women’s health strategy, offered her “heartfelt condolences” to the Kerr family and said: “It is vital that we take the learnings from what happened to her in order to prevent future deaths.”

She said the government was aware checks made by some countries offering “healthcare tourism… may not match UK regulatory standards” but that “such transparency and standardisation are important to reduce potential risks to patients”.

Melissa Kerr

Image source, Natasha Kerr

“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,” said Ms Caulfield.

“The risk of death for BBL surgery is at least 10 times higher than many other cosmetic procedures.”

The government was considering how to “effectively communicate” information about the risks of going abroad, she said.

The minister said while the UK government was looking globally at “the consequences of international health tourism… we have a strong interest in Turkey given the number of UK nationals travelling to the country for medical treatments”.

The Ministry of Health in Turkey was contacted for comment.

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