A GRANDMOTHER who returned to Ireland from the US for a Christmas holiday died from an overwhelming infection by a flesh-eating bug just 10 days after advanced cosmetic surgery.
Mother of two, Mary Ryan, originally from Youghal in east Cork, died on December 29 2012 just 10 days after she had undergone advanced laser liposuction in a Florida clinic.
A Cork coroner's inquest heard that Mrs Ryan, who had undergone cardiac bypass surgery a year earlier, underwent liposuction on her abdomen, neck and jowls in the Mesos Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in LadyLake, Florida.
Her US doctor had certified her as fit for the procedure and she underwent the liposuction treatment on December 19.
She was then discharged to her Leesburg home in a stable condition.
But she later complained of nausea and pain in her abdomen.
Her US plastic surgeon said this may be a normal reaction and advised her to take the recommended pain medications.
Mrs Ryan did not attend a check-up with the doctor as planned and informed him she was too nauseous.
On December 23 he said she informed him she was feeling better and Mrs Ryan flew back to Ireland on December 24 for a planned holiday, arriving in Dublin from Orlando and then driving down to Youghal in east Cork.
However, Mrs Ryan travelled to Ireland without a prescription for antibiotics after her husband, Jimmy, was unable to collect the drugs at a pharmacy after a communications breakdown between the clinic and the store.
Her son, Ian, said he was shocked by the condition of his mother when she arrived at his home on December 26.
"She went directly up to my bedroom when she arrived. This was very unusual and she would normally say 'hello' and have a chat. I went up to check on her and she was lying on the bed," he said.
Mrs Ryan showed her abdomen to her son who was unaware that she had undergone cosmetic surgery.
"Her stomach was inflated...it looked battered and bruised," he said.
After consulting with a GP cover service, SouthDoc, Mrs Ryan was rushed to Cork University Hospital (CUH) at 10.30pm on St Stephen's Night.
Mrs Ryan, whose son, Eric, died tragically in 2011, was admitted to the intensive care unit but, despite surgical procedures and high-doses of antibiotics, her condition rapidly deteriorated.
Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, said Mrs Ryan had contracted an overwhelming infection in her abdomen.
This involved necrotising fasciiltis, an aggressive flesh eating infection.
CUH doctors, in a bid to save her, removed all the skin from her stomach wall but the infection resulted in her kidneys shutting down.
Despite being placed on a ventilator, Mrs Ryan died at 7.20pm on December 29.
Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane described it as "a tragic case" and recorded a verdict of death by medical misadventure.
"The public perception of liposuction as a minor procedure fails to recognise the complications and possible fatal outcomes," Dr Bolster said.
Infections like necrotising fasciiltis while rare have been recorded following such procedures.
Dr Cullinane said liposuction is "not without its potential difficulties...this has been well reviewed. She was very unfortunate."
Mrs Ryan was subsequently buried in her native Youghal beside the ashes of her son, Eric, who had died in the US.