Complications from botched weight-loss operations abroad

The Irish Times ran an article this week entitled Flawed weight-loss operations abroad creating ‘huge problem’

The article states that there is currently a waiting list of over 400 people in Ireland needing bariatric surgery, and that some of those people are accessing faster treatment by paying for surgery abroad, in places like Turkey and eastern Europe.

However it seems that some patients are experiencing complications when they get back to Ireland, and according to my surgeon Prof Helen Heneghan, who works at St Vincent’s Hospital Dublin, they are presenting to Irish hospitals and need urgent surgery to correct problems.

She estimates eight to 10 patients a week are presenting at Irish hospitals with complications of bariatric surgery carried out abroad, with numbers doubling over the past 18 months.

Many suffer leaks where their stomach doesn’t seal, or stitches haven’t healed, after the operation. Bowel blockages and clots have also required treatment.

The answer, of course, is to increase the funding and capacity for bariatric treatment in the public hospitals here in Ireland, where the current average waiting time for surgery is 6 years!

If people could be treated for their obesity more quickly, they wouldn’t have to resort to paying thousands or euros to use a private clinic abroad.

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