'I'm away to see tooth fairy' - Tragic dad's last text before Turkey surgery (2024)

'I'm away to see tooth fairy' - Tragic dad's last text before Turkey surgery (1)
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The family are holding a night to remember their dad

  • Louise Walsh

A DAD-OF-THREE who died after travelling to Turkey fordental treatment sent a heartbreaking last message to his family just hours before his death.

Businessman Tony Rogers, 66, who owned Tony's Cabs in Drogheda, Co. Louth tragically passed away while going for tooth implants in a dental surgery in Istanbul in April 2022.



His heartbroken family are now urging others to think twice, carry out thorough research and assess all risks before going abroad for any treatment.

Nearing the second anniversary of his death, the children of the well-known businessman, who owned one of the largest taxi companies in Co. Louth, say they will never give up until they know all the answers.

Tony was dad to Eleanor, 46, Gillian, 40, and David, 34, as well as granddad to five grandsons and one granddaughter.

His children say they have received conflicting results of autopsies carried out in Turkey and in Ireland.


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They say the Turkish autopsy ruled cause of death as cardiac arrest while an Irish autopsy, carried out at the request of his children when Tony was repatriated attributed his death to respiratory failure due to anaesthetic.

Gillian said: "Dad was a hugely popular taxi driver and was so well known in the town.

"He didn't go to Turkey because of cosmetic surgery.He went because he needed dental implants and the cost advertised is a fraction of the massive prices they are here.

"He was such a nervous patient and he was sold a package with all the bells and whistles and told he would be given a general anaesthetic so he would be asleep and wouldn't feel a thing during the process.

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"He travelled to Istanbul on his own on April 4th 2022 and the next morning at 8am, we all received a message from him saying he was 'away to see the tooth fairy.'

"That was the last message we ever got."

Gillian continued: "He died at 11am (Turkish time) and the clinic rushed him to hospital but he was dead on arrival.

"The Turkish police contacted the Irish Embassy who in turn rang the Gardai in Drogheda and they called to my sister Eleanor to break the horrific news.

"We just didn't believe it.We were convinced it was all a mistake. Only a few hours earlier, he sent a message to say he was off to see the tooth fairy and now we were hearing that he was dead!

"We were just numb. We didn't know what to do.

"We rang the Irish Embassy and they provided us with consular assistance but not a lot of information on how to get him home.

"My brother and nephew flew out to Turkey to see what they could do.

"We had no idea how to get him home until a family member mentioned the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust who were just amazing. They knew what to do and took care of everything.

"We were told because it was Turkey and it was outside the EU, that it would be a month before we got him home.

"The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust had him home in a couple of days.

"We were advised to get Dad to the Dublin City Morgue and get our own autopsy so we did that and only got the results of both the Irish and Turkish examinations last September.


"We were told that he had died of a cardiac arrest in the Turkish autopsy but the Irish one concluded it was the anaesthetic that was to blame.

"All we want is to know how our father died that day.

"We are not going to stop fighting until we get all the answers.We are a very determined and strong family.

"We know there is a long road ahead but we aren't giving up until we can find out what happened and why."

Gillian told how her had used to love the Beatles and said they used to joke that he worked eight days a week.

She said: "He was such a hardworking man and his customers were his family, he held them in that high esteem. He was always involved in fundraising for local charities

"He was our dad and the best dad ever and his grandchildren miss him terribly as well.

"To anyone thinking of getting cosmetic or any kind of treatment or surgery abroad, please think twice or research a thousand times. There are different rules and medical training in different countries .

"You might be saving a lot of money but how much is a life worth?"

The family are holding a Memorial night for their dad in Grennan's Bar in Drogheda on May 8th where there will be a pool competition and raffle and all funds will go towards the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.

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Anyone who is in a position to sponsor a prize can contact Gillian ontonyscabsdrogheda@gmail.com

She said: "The night is to remember my dad, to thank the people from Drogheda for standing with us during this awful time and most of all to raise money to help the next family that has to make that phone call to the Trust because you really do not know the day or the hour."

'I'm away to see tooth fairy' -  Tragic dad's last text before Turkey surgery (2024)
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