She claims it started just days after her procedure when she noticed a swollen stomach. Once in the U.K. she said she underwent emergency surgery to drain and clean the infected wound in her abdomen. She alleges doctors told her it was septic, and that the 5-inch wound was left open so that it could be cleaned.
“I couldn’t breathe properly and I was in so much pain,” Harrison told SWNS. “The swelling was putting pressure on my lungs. I went red and purple. The consultant said I was a mess. It was awful. I was terrified and my family were petrified. I thought I was going to die.”
Harrison, who had sought out the operation to correct ruptured breast implants and to rid of stretch marks, said she spent a month at University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, and is “lucky to be alive.”
“It has absolutely ruled my life and left me feeling horrible,” she said, of the botched operation. “It’s been horrendous. I have felt constantly tired and lived on the sofa for months. I felt very run down. It left me unable to go anywhere at all.”
Harrison told SWNS that she will need more surgery in the future to remove the scar tissue left behind that restricts her movement. She’s also speaking out to warn others about the dangers of traveling abroad for surgery.
“It’s just so dangerous and people don’t realize what can happen,” she told SWNS. “It’s safer to pay extra. I would never advise anyone to do what I did. It was awful. It’s like a game of Russian roulette and it could kill you.”
Harrison’s warnings echo those of the NHS, which advises patients to weigh potential savings against potential risks, as safety standards abroad may not be as high as they are in the U.K.
“No surgery is risk-free,” the NHS said on its website. “Complications can happen after surgery in the U.K. or abroad. If you have complications after an operation in the U.K., it’s the surgeon’s responsibility to provide follow-up treatment. Overseas clinics may not provide follow-up treatment, or they may not provide it to the same standard as in the U.K.”
It also recommends researching clinics, surgeons and the procedure before booking.
The NHS also advises caution when browsing websites selling cosmetic procedures as part of a “holiday package.”
“While it’s possible to have a holiday before surgery, it’s unrealistic to have one straight after as this can increase the risk of things going wrong,” the agency said. “You need to rest. You should not drink alcohol, lie in the sun, go sightseeing or go in the water.”