A coroner accused a Turkish surgeon of ‘cowardice’ for not giving evidence at the inquest of a mother-of-three who died during a botched £6,500 ‘Brazilian butt lift’ procedure.

Senior coroner Kevin McLoughlin wrote to Dr Ali Uckan eight times asking him to come to court and provide answers to the family of Leah Cambridge.

The 29-year-old, who felt ‘paranoid about her body’, died of a pulmonary embolism after Dr Uckan accidentally injected fat into her veins during the operation in Turkey last August.

Mr McLoughlin said co-operation from the doctor and hospital throughout the proceedings had been ‘minimal’, adding that his one-page statement ‘left many questions unanswered’.

‘The conclusion I have got is that Dr Uckan’s conduct is a display of cowardice and I do not use that word lightly,’ the coroner said.

He also urged surgeons to consider whether it was safe to continue going ahead with the ‘life or death’ procedures, suggesting the decision be made on ‘ethical grounds rather than business ones’.

The beautician, from Leeds, died during the controversial ‘Brazilian butt lift (BBL)’ operation which involves transferring fat to the buttocks from other parts of the body to make it more shapely.



In October last year, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) warned its members not to perform the procedure until further information about the risks becomes available.

Ms Cambridge’s partner, Scott Franks, told the inquest that as soon as he heard she had died he flew out to meet Dr Uckan.

He said the surgeon told him of the operation: ‘It’s a guessing game, you can’t see where you are going into.

‘It’s a matter of life and death when you are doing it.’

Wakefield Coroners’ Court heard Ms Cambridge signed the consent forms, which included setting out the dangers, minutes after arriving at the Can Hastanesi Hospital.

Mr McLoughlin called the process ‘meaningless’.

He said evidence suggesting she entered theatre just 90 minutes later implies ‘there was no real opportunity for Leah to read, digest or raise issue with the documents put before her that morning, even if she had wanted to’.

Concluding Ms Cambridge died without being fully appraised of the dangers, Mr McLoughlin said: ‘Against this backdrop, those involved in facilitating or conducting BBL procedures must decide whether it’s safe to continue to do so.

‘In my judgement, this decision should be made on ethical grounds, rather than business ones relating to the revenue streams involved.’



He added: ‘At the very least, anyone thinking of submitting themselves to the hazards associated with the BBL should seek out independent medical advice. Make sure that you fully understand the risks before you proceed.’

Mr McLoughlin said Ms Cambridge’s death had been ‘a devastating tragedy for her family’.

‘They thought, no doubt, that she was going for a safe cosmetic procedure and the thought that she may lose her life was probably never in their contemplation, or in Leah’s,’ he said.

In a statement, Ms Cambridge’s partner and wider family said she ‘will be missed forever’.

They also stressed that people undergoing the same surgery are 10-20 times more likely to lose their life than the next most risky cosmetic surgery.

‘We hope that no one has to go through what we have been through and nobody else loses their life while undergoing this type of procedure,’ the statement continued.