Yesterday (18th December), a report published by Australian news outlet ABC News, garnered a lot of attention from alarmed netizens.
Three years ago in 2014, 31-year-old Leigh Aiple from Australia reportedly paid AUD$35,000 (approx. RM109,270) for a plastic surgery package at a clinic in Malaysia.
He underwent a 360-degree tummy tuck, extensive liposuction, an upper eye lift, a chin tuck, a thigh lift, chest sculpting and lip filler. The surgeries were all done within just 5 days.
Then, five days later, he was already discharged and allowed to fly home. Less than 24 hours after landing in Melbourne, he passed away.
Now, at the request of Aiple’s mother, a coroner investigated the treatment the 31-year-old received while he was admitted in the Malaysian clinic.
It was found that the medical centre did not meet Australian standards.
According to the president of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons and former head of plastic surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Professor Mark Ashton, the multiple surgeries Aiple received would not have been carried out in Australia. On top of that, the after care he received was “grossly inadequate”.
Professor Ashton added that Aiple would have been considered a high-risk patient in Australia due to him being morbidly obese at 124 kilogrammes. However, the Malaysian surgeon who carried out the operation classified him as moderate-risk instead.
According to the coroner’s report, the 31-year-old had open wounds that were oozing fluid after the surgery. His carers also reportedly found that his bed sheets in his hotel room were soaked in blood.
Aiple’s mother revealed that he went through a lot of pain after his surgery.
“He couldn’t move, he couldn’t stand or roll out of bed after the first surgery. He told me he was vomiting and his heart was rapidly beating,” she told ABC News.
“He came off that plane in a wheelchair, I said: ‘How are you Leigh?’ He said: ‘Horrid — I am in so much pain, I can’t describe the pain’.”
His mother also said he still had gaping wounds from his surgery despite getting them treated before flying home.
“When I saw the gaping holes I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I could see inside.”
The morning after he landed, his mother found him unconscious in his bedroom. He passed away shortly after that.
Aiple had reportedly died from deep vein thrombosis after a blood clot moved from his leg to his lung. However, the most disturbing part about this discovery was that an autopsy revealed the clots appeared just weeks before he flew home, while he was still at the clinic.
The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons president pointed out the inadequate standard of anti-blood clotting treatment Aiple received, which was reportedly below Australian standards. He advised Australians keen on seeking such treatment overseas,
“The obvious question how much is your life worth. Leigh was only 31 and he is dead. Having surgery overseas comes with significant risk as it comes with no guarantee as to the standard of care you will receive.”
“When you go to these clinics they all look professional and when you try to research the standard of care and the level of expertise they have it’s very difficult to find out.”
A medical negligence lawyer who spoke to ABC News also noted the difference in medical standards between Malaysia and Australia, saying,
“The standards in Malaysia were met in this case, but they come nowhere near the standards here in Australia. These companies are putting profit over patient safety.”
Meanwhile, the travel agency affiliated with the Malaysian clinic says that they are still partnered with them. Its international manager told the news portal,
“In all honesty, I’ve experienced medical standards in both Australia and Malaysia, where I underwent several big body procedures, and I have to say that hand on heart I did, and will continue to, actively select Elective Cosmetic Surgery in Malaysia.”
The surgeon who operated on Aiple also clarified that the patient was briefed on all the procedures, post-operative care, and all the possible risks of the surgery, saying,
“Necessary steps to prevent and minimise possible risks had been taken including the prevention of deep vein thrombosis.”
It’s certainly upsetting that such a thing could happen to a patient who was expecting a life-changing procedure.
What do you think of this alarming case? Let us know in the comments below!
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