Leah Cambridge, 29, died after having the ‘Brazilian butt lift’ procedure in Turkey
The partner of a mother-of-three who died after a £6,500 ‘Brazilian butt lift’ was told by her surgeon that the procedure was ‘a guessing game’, an inquest heard today.
Leah Cambridge died from a blood clot suffered during the procedure on August 27 last year, one day after travelling to an Elite Aftercare clinic in Turkey.
The trainee beautician, 29, who was ‘paranoid about her body’, was inspired to pay £6,500 in cash for the operation after seeing photographs on Instagram.
The procedure involved having fat extracted from the waist and injected into the buttocks.
But she suffered a fatal complication when blood fat was accidentally injected into a vein and caused her to have three heart attacks on the operating table.
Ms Cambridge’s partner Scott Franks told Wakefield Coroner’s Court the surgeon who carried out the procedure told him he had ‘injected the fat too far into the muscle and it entered her veins.’
Mr Franks said when he flew out to Turkey after his partner died, Dr Ali Uckan had told him: ‘It’s a guessing game, you can’t see where you are going into.’
He said Dr Uckan’s ‘exact words’ were: ‘It’s a matter of life and death when you are doing it.’
He said Dr Uckan spoke to him in his hotel in Izmir and did not apologise for what happened, but tried to explain the complications that occurred.
Lawyers acting on the firm’s behalf then sent a letter to solicitors representing Ms Cambridge’s family suggesting she had taken illicit drugs before her surgery, the court heard.
Ms Cambridge’s partner Scott Franks (pictured outside Wakefield Coroner’s Court) said the surgeon Dr Ali Uckan had described the procedure as a ‘guessing game’
Mr Franks, who had two young children with Ms Cambridge, told the court: ‘He said they took so much out and they were putting it back and her oxygen levels were dropping, so they stopped operating and made Leah stable.
‘He just said they got her stable and then she had a further three heart attacks.
‘He said everyone’s anatomy is different. His words were ‘it’s a guessing game, you can’t see where you’re going into, you just have to try to stay away from certain veins’.
Dr Ali Uckan carried out the surgery in Turkey
‘His other words were ‘it’s a matter of life and death when you are doing it’.
‘I asked what happened and he said they had injected too far into the muscle.’
Mr Franks told the inquest it was ‘definitely not true’ that there were drugs in her system, and the post mortem on Ms Cambridge’s body found no sign of any illegal substances.
He added: ‘I felt belittled that someone had died and they used an excuse to try to cover it up.
‘Leah had been to Ibiza a few weeks before the surgery with her friends. They must have looked through her Facebook profile and seen that.
‘She was not the sort of person to take drugs, she had three young kids to think of.’
Ms Cambridge, a beautician from Leeds, West Yorkshire, flew out to Turkey in August 2018 to have the £6,500 surgery.
She made the arrangements through Elite Aftercare, a company that acts a middle man between client and surgeon and also provides a luxury villa for the patient to stay in post surgery.
Mr Franks said: ‘She had seen a lot of people on Instagram going through Elite. She was a worrier anyway and if she thought something could go wrong she’d be typing it into google.
‘She didn’t mention any risks, she just thought she was going to get rid of fat she didn’t want and get a butt shape she wanted.’
The inquest heard that Ms Cambridge paid in cash and was given a number of forms to look at quickly before being taken to theatre.
Left, Theresa Hall, Leah Cambridge’s mother, outside Wakefield Coroner’s Court, and right, her Leah’s father Craig Cambridge
Elite Aftercare was founded four years ago by Georgina Neville (pictured outside court today), a Turkish citizen living in the UK, after she had a Brazilian butt lift and thought the aftercare could be improved
Her mother Theresa Hall, who travelled with her to Turkey, sobbed in the witness box as she told the court how she was told Ms Cambridge had died.
She said: ‘They told me she would be back between 1 o’clock and half past after she was taken down to theatre.
‘I fell asleep in the room and I remember about four people coming to wake me up. They said ‘there has been a complication’, I asked ‘what complications?’
‘They told me she’d passed away.’
Senior coroner Kevin McLoughlin said he had tried to summon Dr Uckan to give evidence, but he submitted a brief statement instead.
The statement, which was read to the court, said he had been a plastic surgeon since 2010 and carried out the procedure ‘in the region of 1,000 times’ with no complications.
Dr Lisa Barker, consultant histopathologist, told the court that Ms Cambridge died as a result of a fat deposit entering her veins and travelling through her circulation before clogging her pulmonary artery.
Elite Aftercare was founded four years ago by Georgina Neville, a Turkish citizen living in the UK, after she had a Brazilian butt lift and thought the aftercare could be improved.
The inquest continues.