Chinese web celebrity, 33, dies of serious infection after cosmetic surgery
Published: Jul 15, 2021 08:20 PM
Xiaoran Photo: Sina Weibo

Xiaoran Photo: Sina Weibo

Chinese netizens again called for stricter regulations in the cosmetic surgery industry after news began making the rounds that a 33-year-old web celebrity living in East China had died of serious infection on Tuesday after undergoing liposuction. 

The tragedy of Xiaoran, a web celebrity with more than 130,000 followers on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, began trending on the platform not long after her death, with related hashtag earning more than 600 million views as of Thursday afternoon.

According to a report from Chinese magazine Economic Weekly on Thursday, the beauty clinic in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, where Xiaoran underwent liposuction twice, has admitted responsibility for her death, which it said stems from mistakes made during surgery and delayed treatment after the surgeries. The clinic has been closed by local authorities, the report added.

Xiaoran's relatives are seeking compensation in the sum of 6 million yuan ($920,000) from the clinic, which has has not responded to the demand, according to a report from China Network.

According to reports, the web celebrity arrived at the clinic alone in May for a consultation and the doctor recommended she undergo three surgeries: waist and abdomen liposuction, upper arm liposuction and breast augmentation surgery.

According to surgery records, she underwent all three procedures that same day, spending more than five hours in total under the knife. 

Two days later, on May 4, Xiaoran still felt pain and was experiencing shortness of breath. She called for emergency services and was admitted to a general hospital in Hangzhou.

Her relatives were informed by the hospital later that day that Xiaoran had suffered multiple organ failure and was in the ICU. Doctors told her family that her situation was critical as the best window for treatment had been missed.

Although the family transferred Xiaoran the following day to a larger and better equipped hospital, where the young woman underwent two whole-body sterilization surgeries, she remained in critical condition. After two months of fighting, she finally died in the ICU of multiple organ failure on Tuesday.

The last post to the web celebrity's Sina Weibo account had been made on April 13.

Xiaoran's death has caused the subject of cosmetic surgery to become the center of public discussion once again in China. Some netizens emphasized the risk that plastic surgery poses and called for people to worry less about their appearance, while more netizens called for the government to take a stricter hand in regulating the booming plastic surgery industry.

A consultant at a Beijing beauty clinic, which claims to be a licensed liposuction clinic that has operated for 13 years, told the Global Times on Thursday that their clinic puts safety first and before any surgery patients must undergo a physical examination.

The physical examinations include checking blood pressure, blood glucose, cardiac function and tests for infectious disease, the consultant noted.

After undergoing liposuction, patients must wear a tight corset for three to five days to help build the perfect figure.

A previous case of failed cosmetic surgery involved Chinese actress Gao Liu, who suffered repeated infections as well as nasal necrosis after getting plastic surgery done on her nose in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, in October 2020.

The cases have caught the attention of Lü Xiaoquan, a women's rights lawyer based in Beijing. 

"The cases demonstrate that regulation of the medical beauty industry should be amended according to the present situation and suggestions from the public," the lawyer told the Global Times.

The cosmetic surgery industry in China has been growing over the past few years. The Chinese Association of Plastics and Aesthetics predicted that the value of China's plastic surgery market is expected to reach 300 billion yuan by 2022, according to China Central Television.

However, legal medical institutions only account for 14 percent of the industry and the number of illegal practitioners has reached at least 100,000, the Beijing Evening News reported in May 2020.