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Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Cork mother who died in Turkish hospital was advised by beautician to travel for tummy tuck, inquest hears

By Vaseline May30,2024
Cork mother who died in Turkish hospital was advised by beautician to travel for tummy tuck, inquest hears

A woman who traveled from her home in Cork to Turkey to undergo intensive cosmetic surgery died while in hospital after suffering a haemorrhage, Cork Crown Court has heard.

Estelita Hamelin, originally from the Philippines but living in Fermoy, died on October 19, 2021 at Avrupamed Hospital in Gaziosmanpaşa, Turkey. An inquest into the 46-year-old’s death this morning revealed that the mother-of-two had been recommended to travel to Turkey for surgery by her beautician.




The court heard that Estelita and her daughter Hazel Gervacio had been recommended liposuction and tummy tuck surgery by Estelita’s beautician. They were given the contact details of a woman named ‘Fatima’ at Avrupamed Hospital, who arranged for the two women to travel for cosmetic procedures.

Hazel Gervacio and her father Dominique pictured at an inquest into the death of Estelita (Lita) Hamelin at Cork City Coroners Court

Hazel told the court how she and her mother flew to Turkey on October 18, 2021, with the plan that Estelita would undergo surgery first and Hazel would undergo the same surgery while her mother was recovering. She said the hotel they were staying at, the Ramada Hotel, had many other guests who were cosmetic surgery patients at the hospital.

Estelita had blood drawn when she arrived at the hospital and Hazel said nurses “rushed” her mother to sign consent forms for the procedure.

She told the court how doctors had informed the women that Estelita would have to stay in hospital for a few nights and that Estelita had asked Hazel to go back to the hotel to pick up some things for her. It was the last time Hazel would see her mother alive.

Estelita ‘Lita’ Hamelin and daughter Hazel traveled to Turkey for cosmetic surgery(Image: Collect/Hazel Gervacio)

On the morning of October 19, when Estelita was having surgery, Hazel went back to the hotel around 9:00 AM. At 6pm she returned to hospital and Hazel described how she felt the operation ‘took a long time’.

She said that after waiting for hours and asking where her mother was, she was told that “something was wrong” and that Estelita was in a coma in the intensive care unit after “massive blood loss” during the operation.

She described how she was “not allowed to see her” and said she was not allowed in the ICU. The next day, October 20, Hazel met with doctors and was taken to intensive care, where she was told her mother had died. She was taken to the hospital morgue.

The hospital arranged for Hazel to be moved from the Ramada Hotel to another hotel. Hazel said she thought this was so she wouldn’t talk to other hospital patients in the hotel.

Hazel Hamelin pictured at an inquest into the death of her mother Estelita (Lita) Hamelin at Cork City Coroners Court Photo Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts Limited

The hospital then offered to “pay for everything”, she said, including the cremation and transport of Estelita’s body back to Ireland, describing how the doctors “wanted me to go home straight away”.

Estalita’s family organized a lawyer in Turkey. Estelita’s body was taken to Ireland where Dr Margot Bolster, Assistant State Pathologist, carried out an autopsy at Cork City Mortuary.

Dr. Bolster ruled that Estelita’s cause of death was hemorrhage and shock complicating a liposuction procedure – a rare but recognized complication of the surgery. She had no underlying disease.

Assistant State Pathologist Margot Bolster pictured during an inquest at Cork City Coroners Court

Coroner Philip Comyn gave an open verdict in the case, saying he was “hindered from reaching a verdict” due to difficulties in obtaining data from the Turkish hospital. He told how the coroner’s office had tried to contact the hospital a number of times by email and written letter.

He said Estelita’s tragic death “highlights the dangers associated with going abroad for procedures” and said patients who choose to travel for surgery “run a high risk” that a hospital abroad will not ” takes the same steps’ in treating complications as the other hospitals. high standard of care in Ireland.

The court today also heard an inquest into the death of Pamela Canty, a Cork woman who also died following surgery abroad. She traveled to Turkey for weight-loss surgery and collapsed within hours of returning home. She died of septic shock after a ‘medical accident’, the coroner ruled.

After the inquest, Dr. Colm O’Boyle, consultant general surgeon at Bon Secours Hospital in Cork and expert in bariatric weight loss surgery, how traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery, especially bariatric procedures, can be a ‘potential disaster’.

In a statement to the court, she said that while cheap cosmetic procedures are advertised online, weight loss surgery “is not a one-size-fits-all procedure.”

Bariatric surgeon Colm O’Boyle pictured in Cork City Coroners Court Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts Limited

It describes how in Ireland, patients undergoing bariatric surgery visit a number of specialists, including dietitians, psychologists and physiotherapists, and undergo extensive pre-operative testing and assessment before having a procedure carried out. In Ireland the process usually takes at least six months.

He said that “a few blood tests the day before surgery would not be good enough” and described fly-in-fly-out medical tourism without proper pre- and post-operative care as “very dangerous”.

“It is not uncommon to have infections,” he said, adding that it is “very dangerous” for patients to be allowed to fly home if they show signs of complications after surgery. Dr. O’Boyle told the court that bariatric specialists in Ireland often have to treat Irish patients returning to the country with complications following surgery abroad.

In one case, he told of a woman who returned to Ireland with a medical drain after doctors at a Turkish hospital told her she would have to have it ‘removed’ as soon as she got home. Another case described a woman who had not planned to have a procedure done, but had traveled to Turkey with her daughter, planned to have a procedure, and was offered surgery the day after.

He added that the risks of traveling abroad for surgery include a language barrier, procedures can be poorly explained, patients can be given incorrect discharge information and there is no follow-up after surgery.

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