THE wife of an Irishman who died during liposuction in Colombia told an inquest that he chose a “celebrity” surgeon to carry out the procedure because he trusted him.
Andrea Galeano said that plastic surgeon Dr Ricardo Lancheros Pedraza carried out procedures on “all the celebrities in Colombia and South America”.
Her husband, Pierre Christian Lawlor (34), from Belarmine Place in Stepaside, Co Dublin, wanted surgery because he felt “fat and ugly”.
“I did not think he needed any of this (surgery). I thought he was beautiful. I always said this to him, but he did not believe me,” she said.
Mr Lawlor died when he went into cardiac arrest while on the operating table at a clinic in Bogota on September 3, 2007.
His death was the subject of a previous inquest, with the former Dublin County Coroner returning an open verdict, which was later quashed at the High Court.
Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that the couple met over the internet in early 2006 and were married with a newborn son – Zachary – by the end of the year. They travelled to Colombia in August 2007, to visit Venezuelan-born Ms Galeano’s family.
She said that Mr Lawlor always talked about having plastic surgery. He had been taking steroids before they met, but stopped at her insistence.
As a result, he felt “fat” and wanted liposuction, she said.
His mother, Margaret Lawlor, said that in a phone call with her son while he was in Colombia he had made reference to liposuction, but she thought he was “joking”.
“We did not discuss it seriously. In fairness, he did not need any,” she said.
Ms Galeano arranged a number of meetings with plastic surgeons in Bogota. Mr Lawlor only met with Dr Lancheros before picking him to do the surgery because he “trusted him”, she said.
She told the court that she believed Mr Lawlor had taken cocaine on the Saturday night two days before the surgery and the following day. However, she said she did not see him take the drug. He had been warned not to drink, smoke or take medication prior to surgery, she said.
Mr Lawlor was brought in for surgery on the Monday morning, and when she returned in the afternoon, doctors told her that his heart was failing. Ms Galeano asked to be allowed into the operating theatre while he was “still alive”.
“I talked to him and told that he could not leave because Zachary and I needed him. He never gave me an answer. He never moved a finger,” she said.
Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said several attempts to contact Dr Lancheros and individuals on his medical team have failed.
The inquest had been scheduled for full hearing this week, but was adjourned to allow time for Ms Galeano’s representatives to consider statements taken by the Colombian authorities.