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October 19, 2018

Woman dies after botched breast enlargement surgery

June Wanza Mulupi, who died a botched breast enlargement operation. /COURTESY
June Wanza Mulupi, who died a botched breast enlargement operation. /COURTESY

A family in Nairobi is mourning a woman who died of sepsis after a botched breast augmentation surgery in Karen.

Julie Wanza’s death, after a seemingly uncomplicated surgery, has shocked many people, especially women, who increasingly have sought larger breasts.

The procedure was carried out by an unidentified surgeon at his clinic at the Galleria Shopping Mall last week.

Wanza was discharged but developed severe abdominal pain that worsened.

She went to Nairobi Hospital for review on Wednesday and was immediately admitted to  the High Dependency Unit, then the ICU.

Doctors realised that her intestines had been cut or punctured in the first surgery, apparently a fat transfer augmentation. Her blood pressure was dangerously low.

Wanza's family wants to know exactly how she died.

"Because her intestines were cut, all the waste was seeping out and spreading inside the stomach. That caused an infection called sepsis. Doctors battled to save her life on Friday but she died from the infection," a family member yesterday told the Star.

Wanza is to be buried on Saturday. The family requested time to grieve before they divulge more information.

"We are having the postmortem tomorrow [today]. Allow us to finish that process," they said through lawyer Jared Orare.

A source yesterday revealed to the Star that Wanza’s intestine had been severed, and waste had spilled into her abdominal cavity — the cause of the acute pains.

She developed sepsis, an infection that takes effect when the body’s immune system releases chemicals into the bloodstream to fight an infection.

Kenya Medical Association chairperson Jacqueline Kitulu had not commented on the matter by press time.

A team of doctors, led by Prof Stanley Khainga, frantically attended to Wanza.

Last evening, Khainga told the Star he was called in as a corrective surgeon after Wanza was admitted to Nairobi Hospital.

Photo caption: Prof Stanley Khainga

The surgeon said the patient had also developed gas gangrene, likely from the incisions made during the surgery. Khainga said the infection usually spreads quickly.

"It was gas gangrene which is an infection of soft tissues from bacteria on the skin. I was just called in to control that. When gas gangrene gets under the skin, it kills blood supply and eats the fat and whatever remains. If you don’t remove the dead skin then it spreads all over and you can’t control it," he said.

"The wounds through which the surgery is done are the ones that now become the portals of entry of the bacteria. For her, it was an infection that was too fast. I was just intervening to control that and correct the shock and so on. I was in Nairobi Hospital when they called me. She was a referral. As a consultant, I was trying to sort out the problem."

Prof Khainga came into the limelight in February when he led a team of plastic surgeons to rejoin the hand of an 18-year-old shamba boy at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Breast augmentation has been gaining popularity, with a number of women opting for the procedure as reconstruction after breast cancer surgery or for cosmetic purposes.

The most common methods involve the use of silicon or saline implants. A surgeon makes an incision under the breast, then lodges the implants.

Fat transfer is one of the newest methods of breast augmentation and one of the few that do not involve the use of silicone, a synthetic material.

In fat transfer, liposuction is used to obtain fat from other parts of the body to be implanted in the breasts.

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