A man who spent more than $35,000 on an extreme cosmetic surgery holiday to Malaysia died after undergoing two marathon operations that left him with "gaping holes", seeping wounds and burst stitches.
Leigh Aiple, from Melbourne's eastern suburbs, died the day he arrived back in Australia on May 11, 2014 after having extensive plastic surgery in Malaysia that included a 360-degree tummy tuck, liposuction, an eye lift, a chin tuck, lip fillers, a thigh lift and chest sculpting, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
A coroner found the 34-year-old died from pulmonary thromboembolism after a blood clot from his leg travelled to his lung, which a medical expert has claimed was a post-operative complication that should have been picked up by his doctors in Malaysia before he flew back home.
Kathryn Booth, a medical law expert, lobbied the Victorian coroner to have the circumstances surrounding Mr Aiple's death investigated after it was revealed he had undergone two massive surgeries within a week of each other at the Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
She said the case raises serious questions about the safety of the medical tourism trade, which sees thousands of Australians travel overseas for risky plastic surgery.
Mr Aiple's devastated mother Grace Muscat said her son had emailed her complaining that he fainted in his hotel bathroom and woke up "lying in my own diarrhoea".
"I started hyperventilating and couldn't breathe. My chest was tight and heartbeat was dangerously rapid. I've had no energy for four days now," an email obtained by the
"They don't seem able to solve my issues here, they just say 'I've never seen your kind of case before'. It's a little scary hearing that," he added.
The medical travel agency that organised his cosmetic holiday, Gorgeous Getaways, also made a terrifying discovery upon checking on Mr Aiple in a hotel.
A carer said they found him in a blood stained room, leaking fluid after the stitches on a 10 centimetre wound burst, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
But despite his deteriorating condition, surgeon Dr Mohamad Nasir Zahari - who was trained at Melbourne University - cleared him to return home.
Ms Muscat said that when her son arrived in Australia on Mother's Day 2014 she was shocked to see his the state of his health.
"When he came home, there were gaping holes, there was stitching everywhere," she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I didn't want to pull a face so he wouldn't get upset, when I saw it, I thought 'Oh my god'."
He had a scheduled doctors the very next day but before he could make it, Ms Muscat found her son desperately clutching at his chest and struggling to breathe.
He was pronounced dead an hour later, with Ms Muscat whispering in his ear that she loved him in his last moments.
The grieving mother said she had always tried to tell her son that she was beautiful but he was hell bent on having surgery to alter his appearance.
A spokesperson from the Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre told the Sydney Morning Herald that Mr Aiple's death was "an extremely rare and complicated incident".
"It is still ongoing for full investigation and Dr Nasir will give an explanation to the public later when the case have concluded from all relevant parties."
Gorgeous Getaways owner Loraine Reinsfields, who lives in New Zealand but runs the company from its office in Kuala Lumpur, said her sincere condolences went out to Mr Aiple's family.
"All our clients are fully made aware that Gorgeous Getaways isn't a medical expert, our role is to assist with connecting our clients with medical specialists overseas," she said.
"Those senior surgeons are responsible for patient care including when they should be discharged and when they are fit to fly home.
"If at any point it was proven that there had been medical misconduct, we would proactively review the facilities and surgeons we work with.
"All medical procedures - irrespective of which country they are done - carry risk, and all our clients are made aware of those risks by the senior surgeons who undertake their surgery."
-Daily Mail with additional reporting from NZ Herald