Barely able to speak, rushing from her terrified mother in a wheelchair to her surgeon, Menna El Sayied cried out in terror, “It’s going to kill me.”
By the next evening – just over a week since she allegedly had five stones of fat removed via liposuction – the 19-year-old was dead.
As more and more nations offer sun, sea and cosmetic surgery at bargain prices in the battle for ‘beauty tourism’, a BBC News investigation believes it has found evidence that laws are being circumvented and dangerous liposuction is costing lives.
It comes after the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons recently revealed one 44 percent increase in botched cosmetic surgeries abroad – where even qualified doctors escape prosecution for fatal mistakes.
Menna’s mother, Amal Ahmed, tells the show in tragic detail how her daughter found a plastic surgeon online desperate to get liposuction.
“I told him she’s the only daughter I have,” she explains. “He told me it was a simple operation.”
Dark side of the beauty tourism boom
Just last year, the Egyptian Ministry of Health launched the “We Take Care of You” campaign to increase medical tourism in the country.
But despite its efforts to market itself as a health destination, worrying claims are being made about its burgeoning beauty industry.
At 16 stones, Egyptian law student Menna was unhappy with her weight and wanted a quick fix.
She wanted liposuction, but doctors warned her it was for body contouring only.
Her best friend Shereen Ashraf told the BBC documentary Beauty’s Ugly Truth: “The doctors told her, ‘You just have to go on a diet. This operation is not for you.
“She found out about the surgeries on the internet – those that offer curvy bodies, those that do liposuction or gastric bypass.
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“She asked me, ‘Am I really fat? Am I not pretty?’ Even though she was beautiful. She meant the world to me.”
Menna finally found a doctor online, Dr. Mina Gerges who would conduct the procedure.
Mama Amal shared how she grilled the plastic surgeon about safety.
She said: “Searching the internet she found this Dr. mine We visited him in his clinic.
“He told me it was a simple operation and that she could call me from her phone during the procedure.”
Dodgy doc removes 5th fat
After the procedure, Amal claims Dr. Gerges told the family he’d lost 70 to 80 pounds of fat — just over 10 pounds.
There is no legal limit to the amount of fat that can be removed during liposuction in Egypt.
Guidelines from the British Association of Plastic Surgeons state that a maximum of half a stone – or three liters – can be safely drained during the procedure.
Eight days after her operation, Menna took her mother and aunt to see Dr. Gerges.
The student could barely speak and was in a wheelchair, but Dr. Gerges refused to examine her, according to her aunt.
Amal said, “He put us in a room and she said, ‘Here’s something hard and it’s killing me, it’s going to kill me.’
“He said ‘it’s the stitches — she’s being spoiled’.”
That evening, Menna’s family found her unconscious in her bed and rushed her to the hospital.
She said: “The doctor took us aside and said ‘Menna is going to die’.
“He said, ‘She’s not going to make it. I’ll give her injections that will break up blood clots until she’s over.’”
Menna died the following day from a blood clot in her stomach and lungs – eight days after her surgery.
While Menna lay dying, Dr. Gerges posted a video on YouTube in which he said he was a member of both the European and American Societies of Plastic Surgeons.
But BBC investigators found no evidence linking him to any surgery association other than the Egyptian Medical Syndicate.
As undercover reporter Dr. When Gerges asked for a consultation, he told them he could lose 17 kg – almost seven pounds of fat.
He said: “This is how much I will remove during surgery.
“You put your hand on your stomach and it will be completely flat.”
He added: “There will be side effects if the doctor operates on you without asking for tests or if the doctor is inexperienced.
“There is always a solution to side effects.
“You will be awake and we will use a local anesthetic. Some people talk on their cell phones.
“You will leave the hospital on the same day.”
“If we had known the risks, we would not have let them sign”
The family buried Menna within 24 hours of her death – meaning no autopsy took place.
Her cause of death was listed as embolism following liposuction and no criminal charges were filed.
dr Gerges told the medical consortium that Menna and her family understood the potential complications. He also told the body that he removed six to seven kilograms of fat from Menna’s body.
dr Gerges claims he prescribed anticoagulant medication and advised exercise, which Menna didn’t take up.
He told the BBC that he made no mistake in treating Menna.
He added that due to patients’ confidentiality, he could not comment further on their case.
Amal said, “Do you think it’s possible if he told us it could cause a blood clot in her stomach and one in her lungs that we’d still sign a consent form?”
When the BBC asked the Egyptian Doctor’s Syndicate about the status of the complaint against Dr. Mina Gerges questioned, said the head of the panel’s ethics committee, Dr. Gamal Omera that he is still under investigation.
He said: “Although prosecutors dropped the case, the doctor’s investigation is ongoing.
“The syndicate’s investigations are independent of the investigations of the prosecutor’s office.
“I will hold him accountable based on his surgical technique and the papers provided by the hospitals [Menna visited].
“We can compare that with both the doctor’s statement and the patient’s family.
I wish there were laws allowing the Syndicate to conduct their own searches [of clinics] and the power to arrest doctors working illegally.
“Parliament has the power to implement these laws.”
“It’s really important that they think you’re a doctor”
On the surface, Egypt has higher medical standards than Britain – where fillers are not regulated.
To legally perform botox or fillers in the country, you must be a dermatologist or plastic surgeon – overseen by the Egyptian Medical Syndicate.
However, penalties for breaking the law vary widely – from up to two years imprisonment or up to £9.50.
And undercover reporters uncovered centers that offer certificates to non-physicians with no medical experience.
When real patients come in to act as models for Botox classes, manager Ashraf Gad tells Undercover reporters, “It’s really important that they think you’re a doctor.”
The doctor training the two women tells them that it’s impossible to die from fillers — when in reality, you could hit a vein or develop an allergic reaction.
dr Mohamed Madany tells them: “Ninety-nine percent of the non-doctors who work in this field either have problems or bad results.
“We’re going to learn to do things that won’t get you in jail.
“After a while you’ll have the skills to squirt like a doctor.”
dr Madany and Ashraf Gad did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment.
BBC News investigates Beauty’s Ugly Truth on iPlayer starting today.
https://www.thesun.ie/health/8712778/botched-cosmetic-surgery-death-egypt-bbc-documentary/ My only daughter died after the beautician removed 5 STONE fat from a liposuction she found online