Mum dies from septic shock days after weight-loss surgery in Turkey

Pamela Canty
-Credit: (Image: No credit)

A mum who travelled to Turkey for weight-loss surgery tragically collapsed the day she returned home and later died of septic shock. The circumstances surrounding Pamela Canty's death have prompted a coroner to issue a stark warning about the risks of undergoing cosmetic surgeries.

Ms Canty, 53, passed away at Mercy University Hospital on October 23, 2022, just two days after her return home. The inquest into her death was opened by Coroner Philip Comyn at Cork Coroner's Court.

It was revealed Pamela had journeyed to the Su Hospital in Izmir to have a gastric sleeve operation for weight loss. She made the trip with her husband Finbarr Canty and their son Joshua on October 17, 2022.

Her husband had previously undergone a successful gastric sleeve surgery at a different Turkish hospital a few months prior.

The court heard the couple had been in contact with doctors at the Su Hospital primarily through WhatsApp before their arrival in Turkey. Upon reaching the hospital, Pamela underwent a blood test and presented her medical records to the doctors there, reports the Mirror.

Mr Canty shared with the court doctors had diagnosed Pamela with an oesophageal hernia, making her unsuitable for a gastric sleeve. The medical team communicated to the couple via interpreters they could repair the hernia and then carry out a gastric bypass procedure instead.

Mr Canty proposed returning home to seek treatment for the hernia in Ireland, according to Cork Beo. However, Pamela consented to the altered procedure in Turkey and underwent surgery at Su Hospital on October 17.

Post-operation, Pamela was reported to be "sleepy" and was only given oral fluids. Mr Canty detailed how his wife began showing early signs of infection including sweating, nausea and vomiting.

On October 20, Ms Canty was discharged from the hospital and flew home the next day, transiting in Munich before landing in Dublin and taking a bus to Cork. She was provided with a wheelchair at each airport due to her ill health.

Upon arriving home, Pamela "didn't look great" during the journey back to Cork. Mr Canty said she watched some TV and then went to bed. The following morning, October 22, she was "sweating uncontrollably" and exhibited signs of fever.

That afternoon, she collapsed. Mr Canty recounted how he performed CPR on Pamela while waiting for an ambulance, and she was taken to Mercy Hospital in Cork city.

Colorectal specialist and General Surgeon, Professor Micheal O'Riordain, who treated her upon her emergency admission to the hospital, told the court Pamela underwent an urgent operation to repair a defect in her bowel where the bypass had burst. She was subsequently placed on life support in the Intensive Care Unit but sadly passed away on October 23.

Prof O'Riordain explained a gastric bypass is typically used for blockages and obstructions in the bowel and is not recognised as a bariatric procedure for weight loss.

The autopsy conducted by Dr Margot Bolster, assistant state pathologist, concluded Pamela's death was caused by septic shock due to dehiscence at a gastrojejunal bypass with peritonitis and mediastinitis - known complications of gastric bypass surgery.

Coroner Philip Comyn delivered a verdict of death by medical misadventure, noting "there were clear signs of infection" while Pamela was in the hospital and stated she "should have been brought back to hospital" instead of being discharged just two days after major surgery.

He further mentioned Prof O'Riordain's testimony underscored the need for patients to be thoroughly informed about the risks of undergoing surgery abroad, including potential differences in care standards, "in light of how (the situation) would have been handled here (in Ireland)."

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