Flying Horror Stories

Cosmetic Surgery

Tabatha’s Overseas Surgery Story

31 Oct 2018

Tabatha’s Story: Overseas Cosmetic Surgery Almost Killed Me

Have you ever thought about having cheaper cosmetic surgery overseas? I did, and it nearly killed me.

My name is Tabatha, and I wish to share my story so that anyone considering doing the same, can better understand the game of roulette they are playing with their lives.

I let myself believe that having cosmetic surgery overseas was the same as having it in Australia, only cheaper, with a bonus holiday. Instead, I found recovering from surgery was certainly no holiday, it was certainly not cheaper (due to the cost of repairing the poor job) and most importantly, it almost cost me my life.

I was booked in for breast augmentation and liposuction at one of those exotic overseas luxury hospitals, and it was lovely like it promised to be. I was very well taken care of, picked up and driven to my appointments and the hospital room was beautiful, large big screen tv and all the trimmings.

The cost of this 5-star service including flights and accommodation was over $15,000. I dealt with Australians to book my surgery and the Hospital Manager was also Australian, so I felt I was in safe hands.

Surgical Complications

In reality, I almost died of complications and blood loss during the liposuction procedure. The surgeon took 11 litres of fat from me when the safety standard in Australia is no more than 5 litres per day. I had 6 blood transfusions, 2 whilst I was I was in surgery (without consent) and another 4 whilst I was recovering. I have absolutely no idea where this blood came from.

What still shocks me is that the hospital was still trying to get me to sign consent forms for breast augmentation 4 days later! With the support of a friend who happened to also be on holiday nearby, I took courage in refusing my scheduled breast surgery.

One of the saddest thoughts I have about this ordeal is that I went alone and I never told my dad I was going overseas for surgery. I can only imagine how devastating it would have been for him if I had died this way, never to see him again. It was a big fat stupid mistake that I would never wish that outcome upon anyone.


Not only was my health seriously at risk during and after my procedure, but the liposuction had left my legs disfigured, saggy and horrible to look at. My legs were out of shape mainly because the surgeon didn’t do my knees, as this was an additional cost I was not made aware of! I was left with skinny legs and bulging knees.

Tabatha 191X300

Just when you think it can’t get worse, my dance with death continued because my incompetent overseas surgeon couldn’t have cared less about me. I was put straight on a plane to Australia where he didn’t have to deal with me anymore. This was the biggest risk, because I ended up with multiple blood clots in my legs and had to go into hospital for another 4 days, thankfully this time in quality, Australian medical care.

I was a 35-year-old woman, but my legs had looked more like those of an 80-year-old woman. The cost of repairing the damage ran into the thousands of dollars, and so I had to work away (FIFO) to pay for it. This wasn’t where the costs ended though, the experience of having a body I was embarrassed about, really knocked my self-worth and confidence. How do you put a price on that?

Recovery in Australia

Dr. Glenn Murray (AHPRA Registration MED0001196978) Registered Medical Practitioner, is the experienced Australian surgeon who repaired the shaping of my legs and finally performed the breast augmentation procedure I am happy with. I am in a unique position where I have experienced both the result of ‘medical tourism’ and cosmetic surgery at home in Australia, and I can tell you; there is a difference that is worth paying a little more for. Dr Murray has been amazing towards me in helping me through the recovery process of my surgeries with him. Not only did I feel that he cared about my health and giving me good results, but I had scheduled follow up reviews and he was available to me if I had any concerns.

Recovering from my overseas surgery was a horrible chapter in my life, but I don’t allow it affect my life in a negative way, I am not bitter or angry at all, it was a decision I made purely on my own and I take responsibility for it. I just wish I knew then, what I know now, which is why I want to help others avoid my mistake.

Not Worth the Risk

To anyone considering having cosmetic surgery overseas, I hope my story helps you realise that the worst case scenario is death and it is a very real risk in the wrong hands. I hope my story is a sobering reminder of the extra risks you take when you have cosmetic surgery overseas and see the benefits of having surgery at home in Australia. My advice is to make sure that you really understand these extra risks and at least get a local, second opinion. Remember that you are not just comparing the price but more importantly comparing how safe you will be along with the surgeon’s skill and experience. Given my horror story, I think that you will find that no matter how cheap it can be, having cosmetic surgery overseas isn’t worth risking your life, health and body over.


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Dr. Glenn Murray (AHPRA Registration MED0001196978) Registered Medical Practitioner. General disclaimer: Patient outcomes can vary due to factors such as... genetics, diet, age, exercise, lifestyle, weight, and overall health. It’s essential to understand that all invasive surgeries come with inherent risks and require a recovery period and specific care regimen. Detailed information regarding surgical risks and complications is available here, but it is advisable to conduct thorough research and obtain a second opinion to ensure you are able to make an informed decision. Please note that the information provided is general in nature and does not constitute medical advice or establish a doctor-patient relationship. For real patient images, please visit our Before and After page. Please be advised that surgical outcomes vary, from patient to patient, and comprehensive research is crucial before making any decisions. This website contains imagery which is only suitable for audiences 18+.

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