A leading cosmetic surgeon said yesterday that Denise Hendry, who died on Friday after complications from liposuction, never needed cosmetic surgery. He hoped her terrible fate would deter others considering "unnecessary" procedures.

Mrs Hendry, the 42-year-old wife of the former Scottish football captain Colin Hendry, first had surgery seven years ago in an attempt to regain her figure after the birth of her fourth child, but was left with nine punctures to her bowel and colon, blood poisoning and multiple organ failure.

At the time of her death, Mrs Hendry had been in intensive care for 12 weeks because she contracted a meningitis-type infection after an operation to correct the original surgery.

"Colin Hendry's wife was probably not that bothered by her belly. She was a tiny little thing. This all started in 2002 – seven years of pain and eventual death, and all for a little bit of fat," said Dr David Gault, a consultant plastic surgeon and member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

Dr Gault also warned that unscrupulous doctors could be encouraging patients to have unnecessary surgery in order to keep themselves afloat in the recession. "Medicine shouldn't be about sales; it should be about honest advice. If someone comes to me who doesn't need surgery I shouldn't think, 'Well, I need to make some money in the credit crunch, I'll just go ahead'. But some doctors will."

In 2006 Mrs Hendry was awarded £300,000 in compensation for the original operation, while the surgeon who performed it, Gustav Aniansson, applied to be taken off the General Medical Council's register.