Woman killed by flesh-eating bug after liposuction surgery
A GRANDMOTHER who returned to Ireland for a Christmas holiday died from an overwhelming infection by a flesh-eating bug days after a liposuction operation.
Mother-of-two Mary Ryan, originally from Youghal, Co Cork, died last December 29 just 10 days after having laser liposuction in a Florida clinic.
A Cork coroner's inquest heard that Mrs Ryan, who had heart bypass surgery a year earlier, underwent liposuction on her abdomen, neck and jowls in the Mesos Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Lady Lake, Florida.
Her US doctor had certified her fit for the procedure, which she had on December 19. She was then discharged to her home in Leesburg in a stable condition.
However, she later complained of nausea and pain in her abdomen.
Her US plastic surgeon said this might 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 told him she was too nauseous.
On December 23 he said she told him she was feeling better. She flew to Ireland on December 24 for a planned holiday, arriving in Dublin from Orlando and driving down to Youghal.
However, she 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.
Her son, Ian, said he was shocked by his mother's condition when she arrived at his home on December 26.
"She went directly up to my bedroom when she arrived. This was very unusual. I went 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 taken to Cork University Hospital at 10.30pm on St Stephen's Night.
She 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, aggressive, flesh-eating infection which involved necrotising fasciitis.
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, she 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.