This morning our news feeds were flooded with the sad news that twenty-eight-year-old Shannon Bowe from Denny passed away in Turkey on Saturday. Shannon had travelled to the cosmetic surgery hotspot to undergo a gastric band operation. Gastric band surgery is a weight loss procedure in which an adjustable band is placed around the top part of the stomach to decrease food consumption. Unfortunately, she died during the procedure. At the time of publishing, it’s unknown which medical facility Ms Bowe travelled to or what complications led to her death.
With the growing popularity of travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery concerns around what happens if something goes wrong have been raised. We asked Susanne McGraw, Head of Personal Injury at Watermans, if it’s possible to get compensation if there has been medical negligence during surgery in another country. Susanne explained –
“There is a jurisdictional issue with Shannon Bowe’s case as it happened in Turkey. Any claim would have to be dealt with in Turkey and would be in relation to standards in Turkey as the British standards and law would not apply. You would have to instruct a solicitor in Turkey to deal with any potential claim.
Cosmetic surgery and surgery, in general, is full of risks as putting someone under general anaesthetic is very dangerous regardless of where it happens. If it happened in Scotland then the family would have a claim if we could show that there was negligence, however, it would have to be investigated as to whether Turkish law would allow her relatives to claim compensation for her death.”
22 British nationals have died in Turkey since January 2019 following “medical tourism” visits. A quick Google search displays thousands of results for Cosmetic Surgery Holidays to Mexico, Thailand, Malaysia…. Gorgeous Getaways, who state their purpose as “Enhancing beauty, enhancing life” offer pretty much everything, from dental procedures, chin & cheek augmentation, a designer vagina to just a regular old nose job. The NHS advice on having cosmetic surgery abroad is to make sure you do your research. And if you’re booking a “holiday and surgery package” ensure you –
- you have a consultation with the surgeon (avoid meetings only with salespeople)
- do not pay for a hospital you have never seen
- do not pay to see a surgeon you have not met