Health tourism ad ban urged after ‘horrific’ death of Scottish woman in Turkey

Shannon Bowe, 28, from Denny, passed away during the procedure on Saturday, April 1.

Health tourism ad ban urged after ‘horrific’ death of Scottish woman in Turkey Supplied

MPs have heard a call for a health tourism advertising ban following the “agonising, horrific death” of a 28-year-old Scottish woman in Turkey.

Shannon Bowe, from Falkirk, died in Turkey in April 2023 following gastric band surgery.

Foreign Minister Leo Docherty told the Commons that 28 British nationals have died since 2019 following elective medical procedures abroad.

SNP MP John McNally (Falkirk) said that was “far too many people that had died”.

He told MPs: “Many gruesome deaths have occurred following cosmetic surgery in Turkey, including my own constituent, 28-year-old Shannon, whose family witnessed the most agonising, horrific death as Shannon lay on a table for some nine hours convulsing.

“Not once, as far as I’m aware, have foreign office ministers raised the issue of such needless deaths with Turkish government officials, and furthermore I believe a pitiful byline of travel advice on the website is simply not good enough.

“Will the minister investigate an advertising suspension in collaboration with cabinet colleagues and regulators regarding countries known for dangerous health tourism, and a possible way of avoiding further deaths like Shannon’s?”

Docherty replied: “This is raised with our Turkish counterparts at many levels – we will always see what more we can do, but the head of mission in Ankara is very seized of the urgency and the importance of this and is therefore working in close collaboration with the Turkish authorities.”

A gastric band is a silicon ring placed around the stomach, constricting its size so you do not need to eat as much to feel full.

Ms Bowe passed away during the procedure on Saturday, April 1, 2023.

A source close to Ms Bowe previously told STV News: “Shannon was one of the kindest people I knew and she would do anything for anyone.

“She was the life and soul of a party. It is so sad. These operations obviously are risky, but it is so rare you hear of this happening.

“Everyone is finding it really hard to believe she is no longer with us.”

STV News has been to Turkey following those who have chosen to travel for surgery.

The marketing is mostly done online and presents a glamorous view of what is on offer.

Scrolling through TikTok, users are bombarded with – mostly paid for adverts – of young men and women telling positive stories about their procedures. 

The relatively-cheap cost and prospect of a poolside recovery are huge selling points.

As part of STV’s Scotland Tonight investigation, Glasgow woman Zara Janjua gave us exclusive access to follow her journey to Istanbul for a tummy tuck. 

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