A 20-year-old British woman is dead after undergoing gastric sleeve weight loss surgery at a reportedly cut-rate clinic in Turkey.
Morgan Maria Ribeiro’s surgery initially appeared successful.
Medically cleared to return home, Ribeiro was mid-flight back to Gatwick Airport when she began experiencing severe pains, prompting the pilot to make an emergency landing in Serbia.
There, Ribeiro was rushed to a hospital in Belgrade.
Doctors determined she was going into septic shock and discovered that during the gastric sleeve surgery she had on Jan. 5, her small intestine had been cut, leading to the infection.
Ribeiro subsequently suffered a heart attack on Jan. 9, and was placed in a medically-induced coma.
She died four days later, at 4:00 am on January 13, 2024, family members shared.
“Steer Clear of Turkey”
The surgeon who performed Ms. Ribeiro’s operation, the clinic at which it occurred, and the identity of the consulting agency that connected the two are all unreported at this time.
It’s a new normal where preoperative nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), threats of litigation, and lengthy investigations required to determine fault prevent patients, their families, and the press from simply stating, “This happened there.”
British mother Demi Agoglia likewise died January 8, after undergoing cosmetic surgery at a Turkish clinic whose identity also remains unknown.
While death is an inherent risk of most cosmetic surgery, and people are innocent until proven guilty, patients are deciding daily where to go without risking their lives.
In Turkey, those deaths occur at above-average rates, according to reports from the very country Ribeiro once called home.
“See You on the Other Side”
Ribeiro shared her weight loss journey and more on TikTok with over 20,000 followers.
On Saturday, January 13, her once bright and bubbly videos were joined by a stark black screen:
“A beautiful angel has been taken from us today,” the notice read in part.
The post announced her death, and apologized for the manner in which the devastating news had to be delivered.
Still pinned to Morgan’s profile is her “last post before WLS [weight loss surgery],” wherein she says she’ll “see you on the other side.”
Today, it’s filled with messages of love, loss, and condolence.
My surgery date is 5/1/24 IF YOU WANT TO FOLLOW MY JOURNEY IVE TAGGED MY WLS ACCOUNT ❤️♬ Confidence (sped up version) – Ocean Alley
Struggled With Weight, Thoroughly Researched Surgery
Ribeiro’s mother, Erin Gibson, 44, is devastated and “never wants this to happen to another daughter.”
Her own daughter struggled with her weight and was bullied from a young age, she told UK’s The Independent days after her daughter’s death.
Gibson, however, had no idea her daughter would be traveling to Turkey for the procedure.
It would be the first time she had ever traveled abroad.
Ribeiro’s partner, Jamie Brewster, 19, said she researched her surgical options thoroughly.
Not wanting to be placed on “an NHS waiting list for years” Ribeiro and her partner flew from London to Turkey, for her gastric sleeve surgery, which came at a material cost of £2,500 (~ $2,700 USD).
The country’s low-cost cosmetic surgeries make it an appealing option for many from overseas, but surgical societies and government agencies suggest those low fees can come at the cost of reduced oversight and safety.
Remembered, and Soon Repatriated
“She was a beautiful, bright light and was loved and adored by many,” a fundraiser established in Ribeiro’s honor reads in part.
Formed by niece Sophia Silva, the fundraiser seeks £15,000 (~ $19,000 USD).
It’s the cost the family hopes will repatriate her body and finance her funeral.
“If you knew Morgan you would know that she was the kindest soul and always cared for others. [T]he news is too unreal and very hard to believe.”
Rest in peace angel until we meet again💔😇👼♬ original sound – Morgan-Maria
Our heartfelt condolences go out to Morgan’s loved ones and family.
This report draws on original reporting by The Independent, and republications by The Daily Mail and other outlets.