In 2017, thirty-two-year-old Marian Al-Sahouri died during plastic surgery. Her story shows that the surgeon had put more effort convincing her to undergo the procedure instead of making efforts to adhere to the medical protocols to ensure that she would be safe under anaesthesia.
Marian “hated” her body due to the scars resulting from poor sutures, and she has been convinced to go through plastic surgery when she met a doctor on social media who lured her in, telling her that “the process was easy and after she would have a beautiful body.” Marian’s brother Tariq Al-Sahouri, said that the doctor had told his sister that several operations including liposuction, scar revisions, buttocks lift, and a tummy tuck could be performed all in one operation for 10000 Jordanian Dinars, that is $14000 US Dollars.
The operation that had taken her life was carried out at a maternity hospital without a fully equipped operating room for liposuctions. Basic pre-operation medical tests such as examining tissues and blood cells were not done. Her brother stresses that the doctor did not calculate the amount of fat to be taken out, nor did he study her medical history failing to see that she had screws in one leg as a result of an old fracture injury.
Marian’s case has been pending in the courts since 2017. The main defendant, the doctor, was busy carrying out procedures on other patients simultaneously when operating on Marian. He had only pointed the suction points on her body, but left it to another doctor specialized in general surgery – and not licenced to work in Jordan – to perform the rest.
The non-specialist second doctor injected a fat-dissolving substance into the parts of her body where the liposuction was supposed to take place, and the operation continued even though the victim’s blood pressure dropped to 50/80, which is considered life-threatening. Marian later needed additional blood units but this was not made available as the doctor did not know her blood type.
Marian is one of many Jordanians and Arabs who seek to improve their physical beauty at any cost and end up hurt or even losing their life when they fall for unscrupulous clinics and plastic surgeon advertisements promising liposuction and body contour enhancement operations at cheap prices.
While researching liposuction operations in Jordan, the investigator discovered dozens of chilling videos of fully conscious screaming female patients on medical beds in private clinics while a scalpels poked their bodies under the armpit, the abdomen, or buttocks, bleeding away without the vital medical attention and care needed.
Most of these dangerous operations are usually performed under local anaesthetic that might lapse while under the scalpels of the surgeon, as such operations are carried out without an anaesthesiologist supervision, which violates the requirements as set by the Medical Association for performing liposuction operations.
Conditions for performing the operation
It is usually permissible to dissolve fat from one spot in the body and then to place it in another by no more than 50cc, and this cannot be considered a “liposuction” procedure, but is a procedure that should only be performed by a dermatologist surgeon, in hospital with a fully compliant operating theatre so the surgeon is able to deal with potential complications emanating from fatty clots that move towards the heart and lungs and may lead to the patient’s death.
Also full anaesthesia in the presence of an anaesthesiologist is required.
Liposuction operations gone out of control
A dentist known only by her initials (GB) has met the same fate as Marian’s when she agreed to be operated at a private clinic by a non specialised surgeon, without the pre-operation necessary medical exams or the presence of an anaesthesiologist.
Doctor Walid Haddadin, is a specialist in plastic, reconstructive and burn surgery says that the investigations of the Medical Association have revealed that the surgeon in question was already convicted of committing a medical error while doing two liposuction procedures previously, and he was only given a warning then. Three weeks after receiving the warning, the dentist named (GB) “died from severe pain.”
Doctor Mohammad Barbarawy, a member of the Medical Association committee, and former Minister of Health who was also a plastic and reconstructive surgery specialist Ghazi Al-Zibin, both agreed that genuine oversight over clinics, hospitals, cosmetic centres, laboratories or pharmacies is lacking.
According to Mohammad Al-Sakharnah, an employee in the Oversight and Inspection Directorate at the Ministry of Health explains that there are around 70 oversight and inspection staff members at the Ministry, tasked with monitoring the work of clinics, health centres, laboratories, pharmacies, hospitals, and more than 28911 doctors and 118 government, private, and educational hospitals.