Tracey Korkmaz

It seems we can’t flick the tv on these days or open a newspaper without being bombarded by the phrases ‘weight loss surgery’, ‘gastric band’ or ‘obesity crisis’. If you check out the ‘success stories’ heralded by the media of the morbidly obese who are now tucked and trimmed into a body con frock, they are generally the product of a gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery. Now I am entirely live and let live, for some people this may seem the only choice or indeed for some the last resort but it seems that from the NHS point of view, these ‘quick surgery fixers’ are being handed out like sweeties and encouraged more and more. Tragically today the Daily Mail reported that Tracey Korkmaz died following a gastric band procedure when doctors failed to notice they punctured her stomach. So this post is essentially dedicated to Tracey, first and for most a woman, a mother and a daughter massively failed by society.

Tracey, a size 34 decided to go ahead with the operation after her children were bullied at school because their mother was obese. Let’s get that into perspective and if by chance you’re reading this and you’ve ever heard your child or any child make a remark that could relate to the above, then make sure you tell them about Tracey and the fact that Tracey’s children are now without their mum.

It seems that in society the last acceptable form of discrimination is against those that don’t fit the ‘norm’ in terms of size. Fat jokes, from all angles are deemed entirely acceptable and to belittle someone because of their physical size is totally ok, right? No. It isn’t.

Tracey’s mother has blamed a lack of emotional support for those wanting to lose weight and I couldn’t whole heartedly agree. At SLiNK while we don’t feature diets we totally respect your right to diet if you so choose. We also actively encourage a healthy and balanced diet and keeping active and fit. However it would be fair to say that in terms of support for those wanting to lose weight is limited right now. Aside from the bombardment of quick fix, post holiday diet plans there is little infrastructure  it seems to support people long term with any form of weight loss, maintenance of any loss and generally helping people to be healthy and active. There is however a seemingly growing pressure on people to not think about their issues around food and instead shrink their stomachs through surgery. A means to an end one would say.

I’m pleased to say that unlike some of the bitching that can go on, on the Daily Mail comments hasn’t reared it’s ugly head, instead it is full, quite rightly with condolences and sadness that a life has been lost and that bullies has reigned supreme. Lots have noted Tracey’s beauty. She was and is smiling so brightly in every image. I can’t help but wonder if these same readers would’ve noticed her beauty and smile had the story had a different end? (I’ll just let you wonder on that one).

Like any surgery gastric bypass’s are both extreme and extremely dangerous. They are not a quick fix solution to weight loss and anyone thinking about it should have a serious rethink. There are many long term health implications and as a relatively new procedure, especially on such a mass scale we wont really know the implications of stomach reducing surgery for many years. It will not just change your body on the inside and shrink your stomach, if you haven’t dealt with any underlying issues, they will simply not go away if you can now shop in Topshop.

The NHS’s total disregard for long term care combined with an obsession for getting obesity figures down means that sadly I’m sure Tracey will not be the last case we read about. But I hope that part of her legacy will encourage other women to think twice about surgery but equally that maybe, just maybe a parent somewhere will sit their child down and say, ‘Hey, that fat joke, it’s not ok… because look what bullying can lead to’.


(photo Masons)

-- Editor-in-Chief SLiNK Magazine