Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cosmetic Surgery Tourist Dies After Treatment In Malaysia

An Australian man died within hours of returning from cosmetic surgery in Malaysia. Surgery included: liposuction, an upper eye lift, a chin tuck, lip filler, thigh lift and chest sculpting. The coroner is investigating what went wrong.

An Australian man died within hours of returning from cosmetic surgery in Malaysia. The Victorian coroner is investigating what went wrong for the 31-year-old who underwent two marathon surgeries within a week of each other.

Leigh Aiple had spent more than A$35,000 to go to Malaysia for the extreme cosmetic surgery he hoped would transform his life – a 360-degree tummy tuck, extensive liposuction, an upper eye lift, a chin tuck, lip filler, thigh lift and chest sculpting.  The first surgery went for more than 11 hours, and complications followed: stitches burst open and wounds seeped for weeks, claims his mother.

Aiple spent weeks being treated at the Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur, followed by recovery at a local hotel.

Experienced medical travel agency, New Zealand-based Gorgeous Getaways, arranged the trip and treatment. The agency has detailed records of the treatment and aftercare

Reports have been published of a carer finding Aiple in a blood stained hotel room, fluid leaking from his side, the stitches on his back burst open, exposing a 10-centimetre wound. His mother alleges that her son had also complained of swelling to his leg and ankle after surgery, and sent her an email containing details of black outs, fainting spells and hyperventilating.

Aiple flew home in May 2014 – and was due to see a doctor the following morning. But he died hours before the appointment.

The 2014 investigation by the local coroner found Aiple had died of natural causes: pulmonary thromboembolism associated with deep vein thrombosis. A blood clot in his calf had travelled to his lung and the pathologist found recent surgery and airplane travel had been risk factors.

Lawyers for Aiple’s family have successfully arranged for the coroner to open a new investigation into the death. The lawyers argue that Aiple had post-operative complications making him unfit to fly, which should have been treated in Malaysia. The Beverly Wilshire is conducting an internal investigation.

The lawyer is medical negligence specialist Kathryn Booth, who explains, “It is possible to sue a doctor in Malaysia but the process is complex, the compensation is and enforcing it is a problem. The most a family could get for a lost loved one is $10,000 Malaysian ringgit, or about $3,300, and the caps on claims for economic loss and suffering are very limited. If you get a judgement against a Malaysian doctor, it is hard to enforce it as Malaysian laws may not recognise and assist you in that judgment."

While it is possible for Australian lawyers to sue medical tourism agencies when things go badly wrong, bringing a claim for damages based on breach of contract through the Australian courts is a tricky and long process.

Australians account for a quarter of overseas patients treated at the Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre

An estimated 15,000 Australians go to Asia for cosmetic surgery and the case has given new ammunition to the Australian medical profession that have always been vociferously opposed to overseas cosmetic surgery on grounds of safety.

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