Mum dies on hospital bed while undergoing gastric weight loss surgery in Turkey

Leanne Leary died after a gastric sleeve procedure in Turkey
Leanne Leary died after a gastric sleeve procedure in Turkey -Credit:Manchester Evening News

A mum died after flying to Turkey to receive gastric weight loss surgery, an inquest heard.

Leanne Leary had a heart attack on the table while undergoing the procedure caused by undiagnosed deep vein thrombosis. The 38-year-old, from Oldham, was resuscitated and rushed to intensive care but suffered a second fatal cardiac arrest the following afternoon on Sunday, July 2, 2023.

The mum-of-three had fallen on the stairs at work and complained of leg pain after going to Istanbul to watch Manchester City play in the Champions League final the month before her death. Rochdale Coroners' Court heard how she underwent tests for DVT on her return home to the UK, however, they were inconclusive.

The compliance manager told her friends she had a ‘small blood clot’ which didn’t require treatment. The inquest heard Ms Leary, who had asthma and pneumonia, originally booked the weight loss surgery in April to take place in October but brought it forward to July while she was off work sick.

As reported in Manchester Evening News, she didn't inform her parents of her plans to undergo the £2,000 surgery as she feared they would talk her out of it. She also didn't discuss the procedure with her GP.

The hearing into Ms Leary's death was held at Rochdale Coroners Court
The hearing into Ms Leary's death was held at Rochdale Coroners Court -Credit:Manchester Evening News

Ms Leary’s final text messages to her dad Paul Dermody as she was about to go into surgery on the morning of Saturday, July 1, were read out in court. She said: “I didn’t want people to try put me off. I need this for me and my health.”

Mr Dermody told the court: “I said I fully support what you are doing, but I want to know where you are every step of the way before and after surgery.”

Ms Leary’s mum Kathleen Scott said: "I would have 100 per cent talked her out of it. You have to think of the kids. But she felt like there was nothing to worry about because she so desperately needed and wanted this operation.”

When Ms Leary didn't reply to the texts, her family began to worry. A friend who spoke Turkish contacted the hospital outside Istanbul and was told she had suffered a heart attack during surgery.

Her parents flew to Istanbul and were met by an interpreter. But on their arrival at the hospital they were given the news that Ms Leary had died.

A post morgen report gave the cause of death as a pulmonary embolism due to deep vein thrombosis. Pathologist Dr Sami Titi said it was likely the DVT was present before Ms Leary left the UK.

Mr Dermody said he had concerns about the speed with which the operation had been arranged and the risks of people travelling abroad to undergo surgery. He also said it appeared the hospital hadn’t taken any next of kin details in case of an emergency.

Area coroner Catherine McKenna recorded a conclusion that Ms Leary, who had a BMI of 47, had died of ‘recognised complications of an elective surgical procedure combined with underlying medical conditions’.

Ms McKenna added: “This case underlines the importance of transparency when it comes to surgical procedures. It is imperative to anyone considering a procedure that, irrespective of how straightforward it may seem, all surgery carries risk.

“It’s so important to discuss any surgery with one’s GP and that surgeons carrying out the procedure are aware of one’s medical history.”

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