'Butt lift' inquest: Operation 'matter of life or death'

Image source, Scott Franks
Image caption,
Leah Cambridge died after after fat entered her circulatory system and blocked the pulmonary artery to the lungs

The partner of a woman who died during a "Brazilian butt lift" operation in Turkey was told by the surgeon it was "a guessing game", an inquest heard.

Beautician Leah Cambridge, 29, had seen the procedure advertised on Instagram but was unaware of the risks, Wakefield Coroner's Court was told.

The mother-of-three from Leeds died during the procedure in August 2018.

Her partner Scott Franks went to Turkey after her death to speak to the surgeon, who he said seemed "nervous".

Mr Franks said his partner had been "paranoid" about her body and was keen to have the operation, which transfers fat to the buttocks from elsewhere in the body.

She had saved the £6,500 needed and flew to Izmir in Turkey with her mother Theresa Hall.

Ms Hall said they were taken to the hospital upon arrival and handed over the money for the operation.

Miss Cambridge went to theatre and her mother fell asleep, only to be woken and told there had been "a complication" and her daughter had died.

Mr Franks said he immediately travelled to Turkey to see her body and meet the surgeon, Dr Ali Uckan, who told him: "It's a guessing game, you can't see where you are going into."

'Nervous and scared'

He said the surgeon appeared "nervous and scared" when they spoke a day after Miss Cambridge's death and his "exact words" were: "It's a matter of life and death when you are doing it."

In a statement, Dr Uckan said he had performed the procedure "in the region of a thousand times", without serious complications.

Miss Cambridge arranged the surgery through Elite Aftercare, which acts as a go-between linking clients and surgeons, and travelled to Turkey on 26 August last year.

The court heard how Mr Franks received a letter from Elite after her death, falsely claiming Miss Cambridge had taken "illicit drugs".

Dr Lisa Barker, a consultant histopathologist for Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said Miss Cambridge died after fat entered her circulatory system and eventually blocked the pulmonary artery to the lungs.

Coroner Kevin McLoughlin asked Georgina Neville, who set up Elite Aftercare, whether her company will continue to enable clients to have butt-lift operations despite many UK clinics refusing on account of the danger, to which she responded: "I decline to answer."

The inquest, which is due to last three days, continues.

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