Turkish woman who lost all teeth in botched operation begs for euthanasia in Europe
A Turkish woman who lost all of her teeth in a botched cosmetic operation has told journalists that she is considering going to Belgium or Holland to end her life with an assisted suicide.
According to the story published by Demirören News Agency on June 26, 41-year-old tourism expert Sunay Öztürk’s tragedy started after she underwent a teeth whitening operation at a private dental clinic in the southern province of Antalya on Jan. 25.
The woman’s 20 teeth were cut by the dentist and — despite her warnings that one of her teeth ached — were covered with zirconia crowns.
After the pain became unbearable in a few days, the mother of two went back to the dentist, who pulled out three teeth after getting a written approval from Öztürk.
The pain did not stop in the following days and the woman kept going back to the dentist, resulting with the loss of 32 teeth.
But even after losing all her teeth, Öztürk told the agency “the unbearable pain” continued.
In the end, a brain and neurology surgeon diagnosed the woman with trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic pain disorder that affects the nerve responsible for sensation in the face and motor functions such as biting and chewing.
Öztürk underwent another operation, this time at Akdeniz University, in which her trigeminal nerve was removed, but the pain still continued, she said.
“I’ve tried 10 different medications prescribed by doctors. I can’t speak or move my mouth. I can’t eat properly, except soup and other liquids. I’ve lost 34 kilograms,” Öztürk reportedly said, adding that she now considers going to a European country that allows assisted suicide if the latest drugs she is testing cannot stop the pain either.
“Holland and Belgium have euthanasia rights. I want to die instead of enduring this pain,” she told the agency.
Turkey’s Medical Ethics Association president Prof. Ayşegül Demirhan Erdemir noted that Turkish laws do not permit euthanasia.
“This is considered a murder in Turkey,” Erdemir said, stressing that trigeminal neuralgia can cause extreme pain but “there are treatments and all methods should be tried.”
Prof. Sibel Çakır from Istanbul University’s psychiatrics department stressed that extreme pain can lead to depression, anxiety and even provoke thoughts of suicide.
“The patient should seek help from a psychiatrist, too,” Çakır said.