‘She paid with her life and she won’t be the last’ – Family of mum-of-four who died after weight-loss surgery in Turkey warn people of risks

Shannon Meenan-Browse died on August 25 at the age of only 32.

The Derry woman travelled to a clinic in Turkey last year for gastric sleeve surgery which involved a large part of her stomach being removed.

However, after returning home, Shannon was constantly ill and could not keep down any food or medication.

Her hair fell out and her teeth began to rot.

Eventually, Shannon, who had four boys between the ages of 5 and 14, was diagnosed with malnutrition and ended up in intensive care.

At one stage, medics wanted to take her by air ambulance to King’s Hospital in London but she was too weak to make the journey.

Shannon’s condition continued to deteriorate and her family last week took the heartbreaking decision to turn off her life support machine.

She died with her loved ones at her bedside.

It was the second tragedy to hit Shannon’s family in a matter of weeks.

Her older brother, Brian, died in July.

As they struggle to cope with their loss, Shannon’s family have urged people not to travel for similar surgery in Turkey.

Her brother, Connaith, said more awareness was needed around the potential dangers.

“I understand why a lot of people think going to Turkey to get that sleeve is going to be a beneficial thing and for some of the lucky ones, it is. Unfortunately my family suffered the circumstances of when it goes the other way,” he said.

He said there was too much pressure on young people over how they look.

“We live in a society that teaches people body image is important or something you should assign your self-worth to.

“It’s 2023 and that’s not the case anymore.

“We come in different shapes and sizes for a reason and they are all great. You are amazing in every shape and form.

“If you are in a position where you are considering that surgery, you are taking a gamble and a gambler doesn’t always win.

“My sister paid with her life and she won’t be the last.”

Speaking at Shannon’s funeral this week, Father Daniel McFaul described her as a “beautiful” person.

“Shannon was the magnet in any company,” he said.

“She drew people to her with her smile and her crackling laugh that was infectious.

“She loved people, always up for anything, be it home or away. She was the life and soul, having a listening ear and a caring heart.”

There have been renewed concerns recently over the number of Irish people suffering complications after travelling abroad for various forms of surgery.

In May, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Dublin said they had been notified of six deaths in 2022 and 2021 linked to medical tourism visits.

Turkey has become an increasingly popular destination for Irish people seeking surgery.

A DFA spokesperson urged people to ensure clinics there were using are properly accredited.

“Individuals should seek to inform themselves of both the risks and benefits of any procedures, and are advised to discuss their plans carefully with their own doctor, dentist or hospital specialist before committing to any procedure abroad,” it said.

“The DFA is aware that some citizens have experienced complications in the course of their treatment in Turkey, and a number have died following medical procedures.

“Irish citizens considering medical treatment in Turkey are advised to carry out independent research regarding the credentials of any potential service provider and to ensure that the facility is accredited with the Turkish authorities.”

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