Woman tells RTE’s Liveline how she nearly died after having operation in Turkey

An Irish woman has recounted how she was rushed to hospital with severe complications following a gastric sleeve procedure she underwent abroad.

Leanne spoke on Liveline on Thursday about how she was hospitalised in Ireland with sepsis following the operation in Turkey.

She told host Katie Hannon that she went abroad with three other women to have the operation, which works by removing roughly 80% of a person’s stomach, because prices in Ireland were too expensive.

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Leanne was initially optimistic about losing weight through the operation, but revealed she had second thoughts on the morning it was scheduled to take place.

“I just got this gut feeling when I woke up. I knew I didn’t want this done. The hospital staff tried to say that everything was OK. The nurse left the room and came back with a sedative to relax me.

“They then wheeled me down to theatre,” Leanne revealed.

While Leanne’s friends felt normal after the op, she was left bedridden with vomiting for several days.

She initially felt fine upon her return to Ireland, but an unexpected collapse at home saw her rushed to University Hospital Limerick.

It was revealed that she was suffering from severe blood loss, which was gathering in her stomach, due to a cut in her spleen.

Leanne was diagnosed with sepsis and had to undergo an emergency operation to fully remove her spleen.

Doctors at the time told her partner that it was likely she would not survive the surgery.

A gastric sleeve surgery effectively sculpts a much smaller stomach for an individual. This differs from a gastric band procedure, which stretches a band across the top portion of a person’s stomach.

Both operations leave patients feeling full much more easily after a meal and can lead to weight loss.

The success rate of a gastric sleeve surgery is roughly 50-60%, according to the London Obesity Group.

Leanne wanted to thank the staff who saved her life at University Hospital Limerick, who she says were ‘fantastic’ in their patient care.

“They were not judgemental about the motivations behind her trip to Turkey in the slightest,” she says.

“I couldn’t thank them enough for the way they treated me. I was on a special diet so they went out of their way to get me what I could have.

“They were amazing, from the nurses to the doctors to the care assistants to the cleaning staff,” Leanne said.

Her recovery has been slow and has had a huge impact on her eating. The tiny stomach she is left with has limited what she can eat and she often vomits after a meal.

She regrets undergoing the procedure and urges people who are considering a gastric sleeve to go visit their dietician first to find other measures for weight loss.

“It might take longer to lose the weight, but you’ll be more healthier. You’ll be able to go out for meals and enjoy it. All I can eat is a starter and then I’m stuffed. It’s not right,” she says.

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