Heartbroken Brit who woke from coma to learn pal was dead after group ‘took teeth whitening treatment drug’ pays tribute

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A HEARTBROKEN Brit who woke from a coma to learn his pal was dead after they reportedly took a teeth-whitening drug’ has paid tribute to his friend.

Richard Molloy, Declan Carson and Aaron Callaghan were taken ill on Saturday after they are suspected to have taken a medical drug before dental work in Didim, Turkey.

Aaron Callaghan (left) shared this photo of himself with Declan Carson (centre) and Richard Molloy (right)


Aaron Callaghan (left) shared this photo of himself with Declan Carson (centre) and Richard Molloy (right)Credit: Aaron Callaghan/Facebook
All three men travelled to Turkey for dental work


All three men travelled to Turkey for dental workCredit: Aaron Callaghan/Facebook
Aaron Callaghan shared this update on Facebook today


Aaron Callaghan shared this update on Facebook today

Molloy, 33, died while Declan and Aaron, all DJs from Ardoyne, North Belfast, were left in a coma in a critical condition.

Today, Aaron wrote about the death of his friend and shared an update about his own condition on Facebook.

“Thank you folks for all the well wishes and messages, too many to get back to individually but it’s means the world,” he wrote.

“Thankfully me and Declan are safe and back up on our feet but thoughts and prayers are with the Molloy family on the tragic passing of big Richie. An absolute gentleman, I’m absolutely gutted.”

Turkish officials claimed the men became unwell after taking the drug and alcohol at their holiday apartment, reports The Times.

The friends had arrived in Bodrum on Thursday and were reportedly taken ill after a party at 3.30am on Saturday morning.

Police are understood to have arrested two people.

Pals have claimed the three friends were warned not to drink alcohol after taking the mediciation.

“Apparently they were given premeds for their dental treatment and told not to drink alcohol,” a source told The Irish Daily Mail.

“No one knows what happened after that. Richie’s sister is out there with him now trying to bring him home.”

Richie Molloy (R) with his pal Declan Carson
Richie Molloy (R) with his pal Declan Carson
Richie died while Declan was left in a critical condition
Richie died while Declan was left in a critical condition

The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust is helping the Molloy family to bring Richie’s remains back home.

Colin Bell, from the charity, has said they hope to bring the body back provided no further coronavirus restrictions are introduced on travel to Turkey.

He told The Belfast Telegraph: “I have been in contact with Mr Molloy’s sister, Lydia, who was due to meet with the undertaker later today.

“She seems very strong and has travelled out there to do a job.

“The repatriation will take about four or five days as Richie’s body will have to be released to the undertaker, hopefully later today or tomorrow.

“Preparations will then have to be made to fly him home and all the various papers signed too.”

Just three days before the tragedy, Aaron had shared a picture of the pals basking in the the sun by the sea.

“How’s your Friday,” he wrote.

Police are reportedly attempting to trace the dentist where the trio, who were described as “three fit and healthy young lads” and who are understood to have undergone a tooth-whitening procedure.

Local sources reported the trio had collapsed in their rented holiday apartment after taking a drug they were given prior to the whitening work.

It is reported one of the men sought help from the hotel’s manager as one them was taken ill, before all of them were then hospitalised.

But investigators also refused to rule out other possible causes, including illegal drugs.

There was no suggestion the dental medication caused the tragedy, reports Sozcu.


Aaron’s parents, Karen and Mark Callaghan, arrived at Milas-Bodrum airport on Sunday evening and dashed straight to their son’s hospital bedside.

Mr Callaghan said: “Our son is getting better, he can talk, but Declan’s situation is not clear yet.”

The British Dental Association says that while teeth whitening is safe, it should be performed by a trustworthy and qualified dentist.

Damien Walmsley, the association’s scientific adviser, said: “Anyone considering ‘dental tourism’ needs to be confident their practitioner is well qualified, and there are clear lines of communication open before, during and after treatment.

“Many patients who have headed abroad have faced real issues with continuity of care. If things go wrong, you need to know there are safety nets in place and problems will get sorted.”

The trio stayed in Marmaris for the first four days of the trip before moving to an Irish-owned hotel in the Bodrum resort’s tourist district, Gumbet.

Hotel staff raised the alarm when one of the men called reception saying his friend had passed out after taking a drug.

All three were initially taken by ambulance to a private hospital, where Richard died.

His unconscious friends were moved to a larger hospital in Mugla, where their condition was described as critical before they began to recover.

They were later transferred to the Adnan Menderes hospital in nearby Aydin.

Declan Carson and his pals had flown to Turkey 
Declan Carson and his pals had flown to Turkey 

North Belfast Sinn Fein MP John Finucane described the incident as “absolutely heartbreaking” and said it had affected “three fit and healthy young lads”. 

Aaron is a former player for St James’ Swifts Football Club near his home, while Declan plays for Shamrock Football Club and is a married dad-of-two.

A message of support on the club’s Twitter page read: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to former first team player Aaron Callaghan today.

“Everyone at the club are thinking of you during this time and we have both you (and) your friends within our hearts.”

Former manager Pat McAllister said: “I just found out the news on Saturday and am in complete shock.

“Aaron is a complete gentleman and someone I get on really well with. All I can do is send him my best wishes and I really hope he pulls through.

“I was told they had taken a trip to get dental work done. I don’t know the other two lads but all I can do is send my condolences to the family, it’s absolutely horrific.”

Turkey has a booming cut-price medical and dental tourism industry – from teeth whitening to organ transplants and heart surgery.

Up to 700,000 people have visited the country for medical procedures and operations, according to the Istanbul International Health Tourism Association.

The Association of Turkish Travel Agencies said that by 2023 it hoped to attract 2 million health tourists to the country.

In August 2018, British mum Leah Cambridge, from Leeds, died after complications following a £3,000 “Brazilian bum lift” in Izmir, Turkey.

Leah, 29, collapsed shortly after the op at the clinic patronised by Towie stars, including Lauren Goodger.

Turkey and Poland put on UK’s quarantine travel list with Brits forced to isolate on return from Saturday

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