Health tourism warning after social worker died following liposuction treatment in Turkey

The family of a British mother-of-three who died following liposuction treatment in Turkey are warning others about the risks of health tourism.

Abimbola Ajoke Bamgbose, a 38-year-old social worker, died in August after buying an overseas package deal with Mono Cosmetic Surgery.

Her husband Moyosore Olowo is now suing the firm and the surgeon responsible, Dr Hakan Aydogan, for £1 million, claiming medical negligence. Proceedings have been issued in the Turkish courts.

He told the PA news agency: “She was the backbone of the family.

“My wife was an excellent mum. My son has special needs and she was a calming influence on him.

“Now I am left alone caring for the children and it is really, really painful.”

Ms Bamgbose (pictured) travelled to Izmir, a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast, in an overseas package deal with Mono Cosmetic Surgery – which acts as an intermediary between patients and surgeons in locations such as Turkey, while also providing travel and accommodation.

Although she had initially hoped to have surgery in the UK, she looked abroad after finding it was too expensive, Mr Olowo said.

Having compared options, she eventually settled on spending £5,000 in Turkey.

Mr Olowo said Ms Bamgbose began experiencing severe abdominal pain after receiving the treatment.

Four days later, he said, she was seen by another specialist at the hospital and had a second surgery.

At this point Mr Olowo, who said his wife was his “best friend”, flew to Turkey, where he was told by medical staff at the hospital an error in the initial procedure had led to complications.

After returning home to take care of his family, Mr Olowo then received a WhatsApp call from the surgeon, where he was told his wife had died. The couple, originally from Nigeria, had been together for 15 years.

In the post-mortem examination, the North West Kent Coroner Service found Ms Bamgbose died from peritonitis and multi-organ failure following a complication of the liposuction surgery.

Mr Olowo said his “beautiful” wife had suffered from low self-esteem after giving birth to her three children, Morayo, 13, Eyitayo, 10 and Titilayomi, seven.

Mr Olowo has not been able to return to work as a Network Rail contractor since she died because of childcare commitments.

He said he would advise anyone thinking of having surgery in Turkey to “not go”.

“I am not going to label all medical practitioners in Turkey as below par, but there is the language barrier,” he said.

He said he fears communication issues may have contributed to signs of her complications being missed.

“Do your due diligence, but remember the rules and regulations are different over there. If something goes wrong you will want to be in your home country,” Mr Olowa added.

The surgery was booked via the Mono Clinic, a Turkish company that uses appeals on its website and social media to attract potential health tourists from countries such as the UK, Germany and Sweden.

Britons looking into surgery abroad are advised to speak directly to a hospital surgeon or use those recommended by their UK doctor.

Mr Olowo’s Turkish lawyer Burcu Holmgren, of London Legal International, said: “I warn everyone who wants to book surgery in Turkey to not use an agent firm, speak to your surgeon directly, speak to their patients and never pay for a package deal of flights, hotel, surgery, etc.

“There are incredible surgeons in Turkey and they are too busy operating they won’t be getting into deals with agencies to bring patients to their clinics. So please do your research and be careful.”

The Mono Clinic and Dr Aydogan have both been contacted for comment.

Ms Holmgren added: “We say Abimbola’s death is due to medical negligence.

“We do realise these procedures are risky, however medical experts we spoke to who have reviewed her hospital records indicated her operation was not handled the way it should have been.

“Now a loving wife and a caring mother is gone, and we are looking for answers. We also want to hold people responsible accountable.

“Nothing will bring back Abimbola but the one million pound compensation claim is for her children to be able to have a future. We are confident we will prove our claim.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2023, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Family Handout / PA.