The 31-year-old Swede, named only as Christina by Sveriges Television’s (SVT) Uppdrag Granskning investigative news programme, decided to head to Poland to have the operation to increase the size of her breasts ahead of her planned wedding.
Christina contacted Trelleborg-based company Medica Travel, a medical tourism firm that advertises itself as “an alternative to Swedish health care,” in order to arrange the formalities.
But shortly after the operation in a hospital in the Polish city of Gdansk, it became evident that all was not well with the patient when her heart stopped and then she remained in a coma, unable to wake up.
“People never hear of how it can go wrong. They must know that it is a risk you take,” Christina’s fiancé, Benny Håkansson, told SVT.
Five days after the fateful operation, Christina was brought back to Sweden where doctors have concluded that they believe that she received too much anaesthetic during the operation, resulting in brain damage.
Håkansson has furthermore learned that it is unlikely that his fiancée will ever regain consciousness. However, he refuses to give up hope.
“I am convinced that she hears and feels and understand things. When she is worried and I lie beside her, it calms her down,” he said.
Håkansson made contact with Medica Travel to seek help in finding out what went wrong with his fiancée’s care, but despite several attempts, he has not received a reply.
The hospital in Gdansk has since terminated its contract with Medica Travel following the incident and the two parties are currently in dispute over who is responsible for the woman, SVT reported.
When contacted by The Local, Medica Travel CEO Jörgen Petersen declined to comment about the case, saying only that he would make a statement as soon as he had gathered all the facts.
Talking to local Swedish daily Sydsvenskan, Peterson was more forthright:
“The hospitals, those who administered the care, so to speak, they have full responsibility. I am just the consultative part.”
On its website, Medica Travel advertises that it arranges dental care, plastic surgery, private hospital stays, hair transplants, weight loss care, infertility treatments, laser eye surgery, alternative medicine, hearing aids, eyeglasses and beauty treatments such as hair extensions in Poland.
The firm makes an explicit pledge to assist clients who encounter problems while receiving care.
“There are always risks in health care and on occasion, things can go wrong. We at Medica Travel will help you in these situations. When you use Medica Travel, you can always feel assured that you have access to the best care,” the website states.