Brazilian butt lift death prompts meeting between UK and Turkey officials

UK officials are to meet with counterparts in Turkey after the death of a British woman during so-called Brazilian butt lift surgery at a private hospital in the country’s capital Istanbul.

Melissa Kerr, 31, from Gorleston in Norfolk, travelled to the private Medicana Haznedar hospital for the buttock enlargement surgery in 2019.

She died at the hospital on the day of the surgery, which involves fat taken from elsewhere on the body being injected into the buttocks.

An inquest into her death, which took place place in Norwich earlier this year, heard that Kerr, who was self-conscious about her appearance, was given only “limited information regarding the risks and mortality rate” associated with the operation.

Jacqueline Lake, the senior coroner for Norfolk, wrote to the health secretary expressing concern about people travelling overseas for cosmetic surgery.

In a written response to Lake, the health minister Maria Caulfield confirmed UK officials would be travelling to Turkey to meet their counterparts.

“The intention is to discuss the regulatory framework, and the protections that are in place for UK nationals, and to identify concrete areas where the UK and Turkish authorities should work together to reduce the risks to patients in the future,” Caulfield says in the letter first reported by the BBC.

“Specifically, I have noted in your report the lack of standard pre-assessment questions provided to Ms Kerr in Türkiye.

“We remain aware countries providing healthcare tourism often conduct pre-assessment checks that may not match UK regulatory standards and we want to encourage all providers treating UK nationals to meet international best practices on pre-operative procedures whenever possible.

“Such transparency and standardisation are important to reduce potential risks to patients and improve patient care in the UK and overseas.

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“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.

“As you note in the report, the risks associated with this procedure are high. The risk of death for BBL surgery is at least 10 times higher than many other cosmetic procedures, and it has the highest death rate of all cosmetic procedures.”

Lake concluded that Kerr died after injected fat entered a vein before moving and blocking her pulmonary artery, with her cause of death recorded as a pulmonary thromboembolism.

The ministry of health in Turkey has been approached for comment.

The Guardian

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