Australian medical experts are urging the government to warn citizens about the dangers of medical tourism, local media reported on Monday (Dec 18).
The warnings come after investigations revealed that a Melbourne man’s death in 2014 was caused by a blood clot in his lung following a cosmetic surgery trip to Malaysia.
According to News.com.au, Leigh Aiple had spent $35,000 on a cosmetic procedure trip arranged by New Zealand-based Gorgeous Getaways as he wanted to lose weight and get rid of excess skin.
Several reports stated that Mr Aiple, who was 31, had battled with bullying and obesity-related issues for most of his life. The former Australian Defence Force member weighed 124.6kg and also had to deal with excess skin on different parts of his body after losing weight during his training programme.
As he couldn’t afford the surgeries in Australia, Mr Aiple opted to undergo several surgeries at the Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
The marathon operations he received in two sessions include a tummy tuck, liposuction, an upper eye lift, a chin tuck, lip filler, a thigh lift and chest sculpting.
According to Sydney Morning Herald, days after the procedures, Mr Aiple told carers from Gorgeous Getaways that the stitches on his back had burst open.
A carer then visited him and reported seeing blood-stained robes and bedsheets.
He reportedly told his mother in an email that he had been “losing fluid at a dangerous level”.
He also said he fainted on two different days and was short of breath. There was one incident where he blacked out and woke up on the bathroom floor, he said.
“They don’t seem able to solve my issue here, they just say ‘I’ve never seen your kind of case before’. It’s a little scary hearing that,” he wrote.
Although he managed to make it back to Melbourne a couple of weeks later, he collapsed just one day after his return.
His mother reportedly found him sweating and struggling to breathe. He died shortly after.
A medical negligence lawyer told Australia’s ABC news that Mr Aiple would have been treated differently as a patient in his home country.
“The standards in Malaysia were met in this case, but they come nowhere near the standards here in Australia,” the lawyer was quoted as saying.
Another expert, Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons president Professor Mark Ashton, reportedly told the coroner that Mr Aiple would have been considered a “high-risk” patient in Australiaplastic a.