Sunday, 12 July 2009

A life cut short

What a nightmare it is when some innocent, everyday action turns into an endless disaster you can never be rid of. As happened to Denise Hendry when she tried to lose a bit of fat after giving birth.

In 2002 she booked a liposuction session, as thousands of women do every day, but in her case it all went horribly wrong. The surgeon damaged her bowel and colon, leading to multiple organ failure, her heart stopping for four minutes, and blood poisoning.

She had to have corrective surgery to repair the damage but that too was unsuccessful. A few months ago, she had further corrective surgery but contracted a meningitis-type infection, went into a coma and died 11 weeks later. She was just 42.

This dreadful saga of incompetence and misfortune certainly undermines belief in some benign creator watching over us and keeping us from harm. A novel this calamitous would be dismissed as incredible.

Not surprisingly Denise's experiences led her to campaign about the dangers of plastic surgery and the need to check out your surgeon's credentials thoroughly before they let rip on a vulnerable human body.

I've said before that I see no need for cosmetic surgery unless someone is seriously disfigured. Most of the imagined defects being remedied are invisible to everyone else and the real problem is the desire for a non-existent perfect body.

Unfortunately in Denise's case this desire meant not just a nice little earner for a greedy surgeon but a devastated and drastically shortened life.

People always play down the serious medical risks involved in a supposedly routine operation. But the fact is that any operation can go appallingly wrong, and when it does it's too late for second thoughts. Just say no!

Photo: Denise Hendry
Katie the cat has mysteriously reappeared after two weeks' absence. We did ask her where she had been all this time but she refused to say. I suspect a failed romance she'd rather not discuss.


  1. Nick, for some vanity is a God.

  2. Grannymar - True. And people are prepared to take huge risks to satisfy it. I wonder if her husband (Colin Hendry) tried to dissuade her from being operated on?

  3. What a terribly sad story, especially since it was unnecessary.

    Kanye West's mother also died as the result of liposuction. It's probably more common than we know. And there are so many people whose vanity turns them into unrecognizable jokes, like Michael Jackson and Jocelyn Wildenstein, the "cat woman." I believe it's a sickness which is fed by bad values of unrealistic perfection pushed on us by the media. Her child will have to grow up motherless for reasons that could have been prevented.

  4. Heart - True enough that serial surgery just gives people a bizarrely unreal appearance. Denise actually leaves four children, which makes it even more tragic.

  5. I've often thought if I had the money I wouldn't mind a bit of a 'nip and tuck' but after seeing how most of it is done and the dodgy work of some, I don't think so. I wonder about the qualifications of those who actually do 'cosmetic' surgery, it's a quantum leap from propr 'plastic' surgery. I think I'll work off the flub and live with the laugh lines!

  6. Dreadful story, I would never be brave enough to put myself voluntarily through any sort of op!

  7. Baino - Living with the laugh lines makes a lot more sense than trusting your body to some unknown surgeon with dubious qualifications.

    Suburbia - Me too. I've heard so many horror stories about hospitals and operations, I hope I never have to be admitted for anything.

  8. Nick:
    I would so disagree with your statement:
    "innocent, everyday action turns into an endless disaster you can never be rid of. As happened to Denise Hendry when she tried to lose a bit of fat after giving birth."
    Innocent and everyday?
    The constant and endless barrage of media depiction of 'beauty' is the utmost evil, in my book. This woman bought it, leaving 4 motherless children. Fat after pregnancy is normal.
    it is all so tragic when people disfigure themselves (and I include the invasiveness of lipo in that)all in the name of what the media, in flogging endless cosmetics and procedures, define as 'beauty'.
    Yeah, I'm in a bad mood.

  9. www - Well, I meant innocent, everyday in the sense that lots of people do it all the time. But obviously not innocent in the sense that you're rejecting your natural appearance. As you say, fat after pregnancy is normal, why the anxiety? I see no bad mood, only legitimate rage!

  10. The stats in Brazil , Argentina for when things go wrong are suppressed for fear it would take away some business - very sad

  11. Quicky - I don't think there are any proper stats here either. I've never seen any details of how many cosmetic ops go wrong, I presume because they're usually done privately. I expect the botches are far more frequent than we know and we only hear about the most dramatic blunders.

  12. Nick, I have said this before and I shall probably pop off singing this tune. This modern media blitz of the expected look to be acceptable is a disaster affecting mankind. I am all for being fit, but to go to ridiculous extremes to look good is causing more damage than accepted.

    The carelessness and callousness of the medical profession too I am afraid getting out of hand all over the world. The problem I suspect is the sheer numbers involved and inadequate people to provide the necessary service at acceptable costs.

  13. Ramana - You're right about people going to ridiculous extremes. Not just surgery but over-priced body lotions, shaping underwear, 6 inch heels etc. I wouldn't say the medical profession as a whole is careless and callous but how else could you describe plastic surgeons who carve up perfectly healthy bodies for large sums of money?

  14. I'm glad Katie is back. As you say, she probably isn't ready to talk about it yet. Give her time.

    A tragedy for Denise indeed.

    Just one question: which religion is it that believes in 'some benign creator watching over us and keeping us from harm'?

    And now I am trying to persuade myself to go to circuit training ...

  15. Liz - She's staying tight-lipped with us but she's probably revealed everything to her therapist.

    Ooer, your religious knowledge must far exceed mine so maybe I've missed something here? Certainly that's the understanding of most common folk, who consequently ask why so many disasters are allowed to happen....

  16. Just remembered this post!

    I don't think Jesus ever said that we wouldn't suffer. What he did say is that he will be with us whatever we go through.

    Perhaps I'll take that up on my blog.

  17. Liz - I see. I'm not sure that someone in a refugee camp or being tortured would get that much reassurance from the knowledge that Jesus is with them, but maybe they would see it differently....