It’s been four years since Courtney O’Keefe’s cosmetic surgery nightmare, but she’s still suffering serious health complications.
The 28-year-old has just become a mum but during her pregnancy she developed a heart-condition and her multiple post-surgery infections also mean she can’t breastfeed properly.
She’s had a double partial mastectomy, the only way she could get healthy after a seven-month hospital stint.
She speaking out again now, with the hope her ordeal changes at least one Australian woman’s mind about foreign cosmetic surgery.
After losing 35 kilograms in 2013, Ms O’Keefe wanted new breasts. She signed up with an Australian tour company and paid $7500 to travel to Thailand.
The then-24-year-old and nine other women were flown to Bangkok to be operated on at Pattaya Hospital.
Ms O’Keefe said as soon as she was wheeled into theatre she became uneasy. The room was dirty and not up to Australian standards.
The Perth mum said she fell ill immediately post-surgery and after flying home was put into quarantine in a Perth hospital.
As doctors battled to figure out how to treat her, she suffered seizure after seizure. Her heart, liver, kidneys and brain began to shut down.
After four weeks of failed treatments, Ms O’Keefe says doctors told her the problem was a Thailand-based superbug.
An infectious diseases expert created an antibiotic solution, but it took six months of treatment administered every hour around the clock for her to regain her health.
But her ordeal didn’t end there and months later she fell ill again. Finally her implants and the surrounding infected breast tissue were removed.
Ms O’Keefe believes the bug was festering inside the implants.
Foreign cosmetic surgery is big business. It’s estimated every year 15,000 Australians fly overseas for elective procedures.
The Australian Medical Association says it’s always safer to stay home. Australian hospitals have among the highest surgical safety standard in the world.
-Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2017