Nasrin Gabor is 43 years old and lives in Jerusalem. She has been hospitalized in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital's intensive care unit for over two months, in serious condition, after undergoing a botched liposuction procedure conducted by a Palestinian Arab doctor from the north of the country. She is not the only victim of Dr. Ahmad Badran - in recent months, at least another seven women have needed urgent hospital care after undergoing similar procedures, Israel Hayom reports.

And yet, despite a steady stream of complaints addressed to the Health Ministry, Dr. Badran is still recruiting new patients, who pay him as a private doctor. All that the Health Ministry has done so far is close one of his clinics that was situated in Nof Hagalil (Nazareth Illit), but Badran is still performing operations in Ramallah, and according to his Instagram page, also in Baana, Dir Al-Assad - and Nof Hagalil.

Health Ministry regulations stipulate that only licensed plastic surgeons, general surgeons, and dermatologists are permitted to perform liposuction procedures. Dr. Badran is just a regular doctor without a specialty, but aside from the significant breach of regulations involved in his conducting liposuction procedures, there are grounds for suspicion of malpractice.

Finally, on Monday of this week, the Ministry held an hours-long meeting with Badran and his lawyers, as part of a "clarification" process - but Ministry sources added that there is little they can actually do, given that Badran conducts the procedures in Ramallah. "This is a very complicated issue, given that we're dealing with a number of clinics within the Palestinian Authority. It's a very challenging case."

She almost lost her life

Nasrin found Dr. Badran via Facebook advertisements; she had also received recommendations from friends. "She went to have liposuction surgery in her stomach, her arms, and her legs," her husband, Wissam Gabor, relates. "He told us that he has a clinic in Ramallah so that's where he did the procedure. His friend did the anesthesia.

"After the surgery was over, Nasrin complained of feeling pain, but a day later she was discharged and they told her that the pains would subside within a week," he adds. Instead, however, the pain only got worse and then the incision sites started to give off a terrible odor.

"By Tuesday she was suffering really bad pain, and on Wednesday, my wife almost died," Wissam continues. "I took her to Hadassah Ein Kerem, and the professor told me that my wife's condition was extremely serious and that if I'd delayed another hour, she would have died."

After his wife was examined, Wissam was told that Dr. Badran had perforated his wife's intestines. "They had to remove part of the intestines, and the skin on her stomach was black. They removed the skin and grafted new skin."

To date, Nasrin has undergone at least ten surgeries as a result of Badran's errors. Meanwhile, Badran somehow discovered that Nasrin had been hospitalized, and he approached her husband in a highly suspicious manner. "He called me, and said he wanted to give me money, and also come to examine her. I told him that I don't want his money and I don't want to see him. All I want is to see him in prison, or for him to leave the country. I have five daughters at home, and one of them is autistic, and another is just a year old. All this has turned my life upside-down and stopped me from being able to work. I paid 50 thousand shekels for a private doctor so that my wife shouldn't have to be on a waiting list, and it's turned my life into a living hell."

Dr. Netta Adler, an expert plastic surgeon at Hadassah Ein Kerem who treated Nasrin, told Israel Hayom that she had arrived in hospital with an extremely severe infection. "Never before have I seen such terrible complications from liposuction. She could have died. She arrived in hospital with extensive necrosis of the skin and subcutaneous tissue in the areas where the liposuction was done, as well as multiple perforations in the intestines. In fact, her intestines were exposed, which is a life-threatening situation. She only survived due to the expert treatment she received from staff from all of our departments here at Hadassah."

Hadassah Hospital reported the case to the Health Ministry. Meanwhile, during the two months of Nasrin's hospitalization, another two women were admitted following similar botched liposuction procedures conducted by Dr. Badran.

"These women needed blood transfusions after the liposuction surgeries," Dr. Adler said. "We had three similar cases within a very short period of time, and we reported them all to the Health Ministry."

Lasting trauma

Samiya (not her real name) is a mother of two young children who lives in the north of the country. She suffered from vascular injury as a result of a liposuction procedure conducted by Dr. Badran.

"I heard about him from friends of mine, who said they'd gone to him and lost weight," she relates. "When I visited his clinic in Dir Al-Assad, he said he couldn't treat me in Israel and that all his equipment was in Ramallah.

"He explained that he worked alternate years in Israel and Ramallah, and that if I wanted the procedure done in Israel, I'd have to wait," she adds. "I wanted quick results so I agreed. At one point, I told him that the security situation wasn't so good and I didn't want to go to Ramallah, and I asked for the advance I'd paid to be returned. But he said not to worry, that everything would be fine, that it's a private hospital. The moment I arrived there I realized I was in the wrong place. It was nothing like on the level of a hospital anywhere else in the country."

After undergoing liposuction in her stomach and legs, Samiya returned home, even though she felt terrible. "My hemoglobin dropped to 7, and my heart rate felt like it had accelerated. I went to Ziv Hospital in Tzfat, and there they found that my blood pressure and hemoglobin levels had dropped because of a vascular injury. They also told me that he wasn't a qualified doctor and that there in the hospital were another few women who had also suffered complications due to procedures he had performed. I sent him a text message saying that he was an impostor, and he started to threaten me."

Samiya adds that the "emotional trauma I suffered is really bad. When they told me that he's not a professional, I started asking myself why I'd gone to him. I don't want to die. I don't understand how they let him operate on people."

Painful results

The Union of Plastic Surgeons has already received seven complaints following treatment by Dr. Badran, all from Arab women, given that he directs his advertising at this sector. The first complaint was received in September from a woman who had been hospitalized in Nahariya with an infection, following liposuction surgery. The Union has also received another two complaints with regard to women hospitalized in Haemek Hospital, and two from women hospitalized in Hadassah.

Dr. Meir Cohen, head of the Union of Plastic Surgeons and Aesthetics within the general Medical Union, told Israel Hayom, "This is a terrible and painful phenomenon. Every year, dozens of men and women fall prey to complications after liposuction performed by anonymous unqualified doctors, and some of them almost lose their lives. Many of them have terrible infections and some are left with horrible scars for the rest of their lives. Undergoing complex plastic surgery while under general anasthetic in a setting outside the regular health system is like playing Russian roulette."

Liposuction is the second most common plastic surgery performed in Israel. In 2021, around seven thousand surgeries were performed in the country. Stories such as Nasrin's are rare and there have only been two documented cases of patients dying after liposuction.

Attorney Tammy Ulman and Attorney Nadar Div are representing Badran. "There's no law forbidding a general-practice doctor from performing liposuction," they said in a statement. "In 2021, a list was compiled of professional branches where they perform this surgery, but it was never published. Dr. Badran underwent professional training in Greece and he is authorized to use the equipment involved in liposuction by the Health Ministry. Dr. Badran has never performed liposuction surgery in Ramallah; the surgeries there were performed by a qualified team."

They added that, "Most of the people who arrived in hospital with infections could have suffered the same after any other surgical procedure. We know of several doctors who have acquired the equipment necessary for conducting liposuction procedures, and they are using them, and the Health Ministry turns a blind eye."

For its part, the Health Ministry issued a statement saying, "The Ministry has inspected Dr. Badran's clinics, following which his clinic in Nof Hagalil was closed. The Ministry is aware that Dr. Badran has transferred a number of his activities to Ramallah where he performs liposuction, and the procedures that he performs within Palestinian Authority areas are subject to PA regulations. Nonetheless, his activities are being examined, and the Ministry has yet to determine the appropriate steps to be taken."