A Lanarkshire woman has lost everything due to a botched tummy tuck, and now the threat of sepsis infection hovers over her unborn child.

Former business owner Kerrie Wilkes, 27, travelled to Poland in 2017 for Abdominoplasty, or a ‘tummy tuck’, and almost died after contracting sepsis through her belly button.

Two years on Kerrie is expecting her first child - but new complications have arisen.

READ MORE: Mother-of-two tells how colitis agony was 'like childbirth'

“I didn’t think I could even have children after the infection, because it was so bad” Kerrie told our sister newspaper The Evening Times. “Because the infection began in my stomach through my belly button, my belly button opened up and I had to have a new one constructed.

“With this being attached to the umbilical cord, my doctors have told me that my baby is potentially always at risk.

“A few weeks ago I had an infection, but we managed to stop it before it reached my baby. Doctors have told me my belly button could potentially open up before birth, so I need to prepare for the worst.

“Every morning I wake up and feel my stomach to make sure it is still intact.”

** WARNING - GRAPHIC IMAGES ***

HeraldScotland:

Kerrie decided to get a tummy tuck in Poland after she saw her friend posting about her successful surgery at the same practice on Instagram.

“I had lost a lot of weight, I was looking good, was single and had my own flat and business.

“I was striving for perfection and I just wanted to be this perfect Insta girl, going under the knife.

“My tummy tuck cost me about £4200. I thought it would be the best thing ever and it turned out to be the worst thing that ever happened to me. My whole life changed.”

Kerrie says that her memory of her trip to Poland ‘gives her nightmares’.

“The surgery was horrible. The building I was getting my surgery in was in a business park. I didn’t think about it because I wanted it done so badly.

Kerrie wasn’t fully aware of the consequence of the surgery until she woke up in the recovery room.

HeraldScotland:

“I woke up and thought, ‘what have I done?’ I was shaking, I couldn’t breathe, and was offered no medical assistance at all.

“I was asking the nurses, ‘where are my antibiotics? Where is my IV drip?’ They kept telling me everything was normal, but I couldn’t stop being sick and my stomach was in so much pain. It was horrific, a nightmare.”

After she landed in the UK, Kerrie went straight to the Royal Infirmary where she was told her sepsis was so bad, if she had waited another hour, she would have died.

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“It has ruined my life. I was successful in business and achieved a lot but I took so much time away from work being ill that no one could help me”. She has since had to close her fashion business she opened when she was only 20, J’adore La Mode in Parkhead Cross.

Kerrie wants to raise awareness of her story to dissuade others from going abroad for plastic or cosmetic surgery.

“I went abroad and now I rely on doctors here to help me. I get so angry and frustrated with myself.

“People have to stop going abroad for plastic surgery and it would mean the world to me if it was out more. I hate the thought of someone getting surgery.

“If you do go want the surgery I recommend only Ross Hall, the Nuffield, or an NHS doctor. You need to go to someone that you trust.

“I appreciate my life now and live every minute of it. I just want to have a healthy birth and if my baby survives this I’ll be so happy again.”

Chris Hill, a consultant plastic surgeon and a member of the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons said:

“Every cosmetic surgery or procedure has potential complications whether it is at home or abroad, and patients need to be aware that risks are involved in having surgery of any type.

“I would not recommend going abroad for plastic surgery.

There are significant dangers in going abroad for cosmetic surgery and ideally patients shouldn’t do it.

“If they are going to do it, BAPRAS has a checklist of recommendations to make sure of before you go.

“Who knows what type of cleanliness or qualifications the surgeon who worked on Kerrie had?

“If you are going to go abroad, please at least make sure that you are going abroad safely.”

Think over before you make over: A surgery checklist

Every year thousands of people in the UK put themselves at serious risk of physical and psychological harm by undergoing bad or inappropriate surgery that could be easily avoided by asking some simple questions about their treatment.

Think Over Before You Make Over is a campaign by BAPRAS to address the worrying lack of consumer awareness about how to choose safe and appropriate cosmetic surgery.

Some questions you should ask your surgeon if you are considering going abroad for treatment are:

  • What is the surgeon’s experience in cosmetic surgery?
  • How many years has he or she been practising?
  • How many procedures of the kind you are interested in have they undertaken?
  • Are they properly qualified and what professional organisations do they belong to?
  • Can you have at least one consultation with the person who will actually be carrying out the procedure, in the UK, before you commit to surgery?
  • Does your prospective surgeon speak English well enough to communicate issues related to your surgery?
  • What facilities do they have and what back-up do they have if something goes wrong?
  • What complications or risks are there associated with the surgery you wish to have?
  • What are the complication rates for this procedure?
  • Once you have had your surgery what are the arrangements for follow-up care with the surgeon?
  • Who will sort out any complications that may arise once you have returned to the UK?