Courtney O’Keefe of Perth, Australia, lost nearly 80 pounds. Her weight loss gave her the appearance of having breasts “like pancakes,” so she elected to undergo a breast augmentation in Thailand.
For the price of $7,500, O’Keefe received a cosmetic surgery tourism package, but the operation didn’t turn out well. “I've been absolutely butchered,” she told the Daily Mail.
When she returned to Australia, the scar tissue became infected.
“We went straight to Armidale Emergency,” she said. “I was there for 5 minutes, and she admitted me up to a room.
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“I was in an isolation room because they didn’t have any clue what I had ... They swabbed, and it took four days to figure out what it was.”
O’Keefe had been infected with pseudomonas aeruginosa, a rare bacterium that typically infects people after surgery or while they’re in the hospital.
“It was also turning septic and was starting to shut down my liver, my kidneys, my heart, my brain,” O’Keefe said. “Mum and Dad had to come and say goodbye to me twice.”
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Doctors created a special stream of antibiotics to treat O’Keefe’s infection, and she was in various hospitals for six months.
On Dec. 17, 2014, nearly a year after her medical ordeal, her infection had returned, so doctors removed the breast implants. The bacterial infection had spread to the surrounding tissue as well, so she underwent a double mastectomy.
O’Keefe will undergo reconstructive surgery soon, but the effects of the infection still linger. Her kidneys and liver were damaged, and she has to take medication to manage her condition.
Because of her experience, O’Keefe cautions others who may be considering plastic surgery overseas. “Someone said it to me a couple of weeks ago: ‘If you wouldn't drink the water there, why the hell would you have surgery there?’ That's so true. So true.”
She has since lost her job and moved back in with her mother. “I’m never going to live a normal life,” she said.