Brit builder, 25, dies from internal bleeding after cheap Turkey weight loss op

The family of a ‘happy-go-lucky’ builder who died after going under the knife in cheap Turkish cosmetic surgery have warned others from making the same mistake.

Joe Thornley, 25, from South Normanton, Derbyshire, passed away after he underwent a gastric sleeve procedure.

He paid just £3,000 for the op in the hope of trimming down on his 19-stone frame.

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The surgeon he went told his devastated mum, Julie, 58, that he had passed from a cardiac arrest, but it was found after that he had actually suffered internal bleeding in the place where he had had the operation.

Julie said: “It looked like a nice hospital and it had good reviews. I didn’t think anything would go wrong.”

She added: “A few days later the so-called surgeon rang me and said he had a cardiac arrest and he couldn’t save him. I believed him.

“But when we had his body back the post-mortem found he had bled at the site of the operation. He died of internal bleeding. It was the aftercare, or they didn’t realise he was bleeding.”

Since 2019, 20 Brits are understood to have passed away after medical trips to Turkey, the Foreign Office said.

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Julie continued: “I would tell anyone to be very, very careful where you go. Or don’t go at all. It’s not worth it.”

Consultant bariatric surgeon Omar Khan told BirminghamLive: “There is a perception that weight loss surgery is a bit like a tummy tuck. The problem is that when bariatric surgery goes wrong there’s the potential for catastrophic problems.

“If there is a leak it can cause really severe infections and it needs to be managed quickly, appropriately and effectively.”

Nick Carter, a specialist surgeon, said: “I have had disasters of people who have had emergency operations a day or two after their procedures in Turkey and they have come back with issues.

“I have someone with mesh sticking out of their abdominal wall. One case presented… and [surgeons] had left some dead tissue inside them and they needed emergency surgery.

“Every bariatric surgeon I talk to has the same story.”

He added: “I have also heard from patients who say ‘I was poorly and they just pushed me out of hospital’. It would be wrong to say that’s happening in all Turkish hospitals, but certainly it is happening in some.”


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