Mum-of-one, 26, died after flying to Turkey for gastric bypass surgery before son turned one

A MOTHER died before her baby turned one from complications after a gastric bypass surgery in Turkey, a coroner has ruled.

Romford IT professional Khelisyah Ashamu, 26, died in Izmir on February 9 2019, East London Coroner's court heard.

Her son Cairo was just 11 months old at the time of her death, the inquest heard.

Khelisyah travelled to Ekol Hospital to have the weight loss operation after booking it through Get Slim, a Turkish-based company owned by two British nationals.

The inquest heard that Khelisyah had the surgery less than one year after giving birth to her son.

In a statement, her father, Oyebanji Ashamu, said he warned her against having the procedure so soon after giving birth.

He said: "I was against her having the surgery. Her baby was not yet one-year-old."

However, she told him that the surgery was cheap and lots of people were going.

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He said: "I asked her to look after her son. I was not comfortable with it at all. She told me not to worry and that all of her friends were going."

He added: "All of her friends came back, she was the only one who did not come back."

Tracey Ozdemir, one of the owners of Get Slim, addressed the inquest.

She said she set up the company after having gastric surgery herself. She said that Get Slim operates as a booking service.


It connects British and Irish travellers with surgeons willing to perform weight loss operations in Turkey.

Ozdemir explained that 98 percent of her customers opt to have gastric sleeves but Khelisyah chose to have a gastric bypass operation instead.

She said a gastric bypass is not more complicated but that it has a life-changing impact on the patient.

She told the inquest: "It's not about the surgeon being unable to do it, it's about the life changes that need to be made."

Patients come to her because they can end up waiting for seven years on the NHS or pay £12,000 if they go private in the UK.

In Turkey it costs just £3,000 to have the operation.

The inquest heard that Get Slim does not require patients to share their medical records from their GPs.

Ozdemir said: "We don't ask for the full medical history record from their GPs."

Instead, patients are required to have full medical consultations with doctors in Turkey.

"The surgeon goes through the full medical history with them but it relies on them telling the truth", she added.

Khelisyah's surgery was performed by Dr Ismail Aman.

Speaking via video link from Turkey, Dr Aman told the inquest that he had performed 4,000 bariatric surgeries in the past five years but only one in 100 of them were gastric bypasses.

He said he advised Khelisyah to have a gastric sleeve operation as the surgery was quicker and safer.

However, she refused – instead asking for a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

He was asked what reason she gave for wanting to have the gastric bypass.

"She told us that she had done the research and with a bypass she will not gain weight", he said.


The court heard that the gastric bypass works by separating the upper part of the stomach from the lower part.

The upper part is then attached to the small intestine, bypassing the lower stomach. This decreases the appetite of the patient.

However, this leads to long-term side effects, such as B12 and iron deficiencies.

Dr Aman said he told Khelisyah that the mortality risk was between one to two-and-a-half in a thousand.

He said: "The usual complications are bleeding, pulmonary embolism, and anaesthetic complications."

The court heard that Khelisyah had two operations.

The first operation was for the gastric bypass on February 2 while the second on February 3 was to make some adjustments to the bypass following a routine scan of her abdomen.

The court heard that 30 minutes after the second operation Khelisyah suffered a cardiac arrest.

She was placed into a medically induced coma on February 3, and was pronounced brain dead three days later on February 6.

She was taken off life support and pronounced dead on February 9.

In her conclusion, coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said the cause of the cardiac arrest suffered by Khelisyah remained unclear.

However, she concluded that she died as a result of complications arising from a surgical procedure.


In a statement after the inquest, Khelisyah’s parents said losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare.

"We never imagined when we saw Khelisyah travel to Turkey, for what we thought was a routine operation, that we would never see her alive again.

“She was an amazing young woman, with a great career, a young son and everything to live for. Three years on, it’s still hard to accept she will never walk through the door or her son who she loved so much will not have a chance to know his wonderful mum.

“Our grandson is a living reminder of his mum, which brings us so much comfort, but it’s devastating that he will not remember his mum because he was only 11 months old when she left and never came back. We have to tell him how much his mum loved him. She would be so proud to see how he has changed from a small baby to a fine young boy.

“Having to go through the inquest was awful, but necessary to investigate what happened.  We will continue to work with our lawyers to try and get to the truth of how our beautiful daughter died.

“It’s hard not to think things could have been so different and we can only hope that others will think twice before booking surgical procedures abroad.”

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