I flew to Turkey for a cut-price tummy tuck but was left fighting for my life – don't make my mistake | The Sun

A WOMAN was left fighting for her life after getting a cut-price tummy tuck in Turkey. 

Lesley Hudd, 48, paid £4k for the op – half the price she was quoted in the UK – to remove excess skin.

Within days of the op, the NHS 111 worker's incision became infected and she contracted necrotising fasciitis.

The rare condition occurs when a wound becomes infected, and can rapidly become life-threatening, causing sepsis and organ failure.

The condition causes bacteria to release toxins which damage tissue, causing the skin to die.

Lesley, from Rotherham, South Yorks, had a hand-sized hole in her stomach that oozed foul-smelling pus.

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Lesley says: “I wanted to get my flat tummy back and feel like my normal fit self again as soon as possible.

“But now, I really wish I'd stuck with the UK clinicians and paid the extra money.

"Going to Turkey was a huge mistake and could’ve cost me my life.”

Lesley wanted to get a tummy tuck following a medical operation on her stomach.

In December 2020, doctors discovered a large tumour in Lesley’s bowel, which they suspected to be cancerous, but turned out not to be.

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On New Years’ Eve she underwent emergency surgery to remove the lump.

Lesley said: "I felt so relieved that it was all over.

"But during the operation, surgeons cut through my major stomach muscles, leaving me with flabby, excess skin and no core strength.

“I've always been quite fit, so this was starting to get me down. To make me feel better, I decided to get a tummy tuck.”

After researching the operation online, Lesley found a clinic in the UK but after paying a deposit, they ended up cancelling it.

Desperate for a flat stomach, she found a clinic in Turkey which offered the surgery at a fraction of the cost.

Lesley booked it and paid £4,300 for the operation, compared with £11k she’d been quoted by surgeons in the UK.

She said: "I was excited to get my body and fitness back and didn’t hesitate in booking it."

In November 2021, Lesley flew to Istanbul, Turkey and had the five-hour surgery.

An incision was made through the scar from her bowel surgery and the surgeon made a large cut across her hips and down her belly button.

But the next day, when she took her bandages off in hospital, she immediately knew something was wrong.

Lesley said: "The wound on my stomach had started to turn black. It was so uncomfortable and I was being violently sick.

“The surgeon insisted it was normal and that it was just bruising from the operation. They refused to treat it or give me anti-sickness tablets and pain relief.”

Early symptoms of necrotising fasciitis can include red, warm or swollen skin, severe pain, and flu-like symptoms, followed by vomiting and black or purple blotches on the skin.

After spending six days suffering in the clinic, Lesley flew home.

There, she rushed straight to A&E at Rotherham Hospital where doctors diagnosed her with necrotising fasciitis and prescribed her antibiotics.

Lesley says: "Nurses came out to me everyday for the next two weeks to help me with the infection.

"But none of the doctors could agree and what would be best for me. Some wanted me to have an operation to remove the affected dead skin, while others disagreed.

“Eventually, they told me to let it heal itself.”

Lesley had a hole in her stomach that was an inch deep and the size of the palm of her hand.

Two weeks later, in December 2021, Lesley was referred to a plastic surgeon at Northern General Hospital, who gave her honey dressings – which are antiseptic – to cure her infection.

Lesley said: "I had to change my dressing everyday. The incision hole was fully open and the dressings were constantly full of pus.

"It smelt like rotting flesh. I was so uncomfortable.

“I also had to sleep in a corset to increase the effectiveness of my tummy tuck, which dug into the infected area. I hardly slept.”

The infection took three months to heal. During this time, Lesley couldn't wash and she could barely stand.

Afterwards, she suffered with anxiety, depression and insomnia and it took her months to get back to her usual fit self again.

Lesley, who is now fighting fit, says: "Looking back, those doctors in Turkey knew how serious my infection was, but chose to do nothing about it.

"Now, I am left with a nasty, uneven scar which I always have covered up.

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"Necrotising fasciitis is life-threatening. It's scary to think that I could have died.

"I want others to know, the cheaper surgeries abroad just aren’t worth it.

“As the saying goes; you get what you pay for.”

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