When the operation goes wrong

A personal story written by a user of Mylooks.

I would like to tell my story. I honestly donít know what to do, or not do, as I've learned that you're pretty much doomed if you've had unsuccessful surgery, and the new result has turned out almost worse!

It all started when the national health care granted me the minor surgery of having some excess skin on my stomach removed (from the navel and down) after a large weight loss, and an ugly caesarean.

Model photo

I was thrilled until I saw the waiting lists. But then a kind heart informed me that I had free choice of hospital, if my local hospital wasn't able to offer surgery for me within 8 weeks, which it wasn't.

Then my hunt for private hospitals started. I asked at several different authorities if they could refer me to a skilled surgeon, but no one would say anything about anyone. I'd only heard about 2 clinics to stay away from, and at the end of it all I ended up choosing the private hospital X.

I had my initial appointment with the female plastic surgeon Y. I wondered why this surgeon quickly disregarded the fact, that my hospital had only granted me a minor operation. Instead, she told me that I needed a bigger operation, because the smaller one wouldn't be sufficient!

I was confused by this, as I wasnít particularly overweight, and the skin on my stomach was fine and tight above the navel, as well. But I trusted her authority, seeing as she was the expert on the subject, whereas I was just the patient.

I didn't care for plastic surgeon Y at all. I felt she was arrogant and cold, but I told myself that the personality of the surgeon was irrelevant to me, and therefore not an issue. I only needed Yís skills, and from what I'd been told, she was one of the countryís leading surgeons.

Despite having to go through with the large surgery, I was only to be admitted for 24 hours, which puzzled me a great deal. The large surgery involved having the skin of my stomach peeled up to underneath the chest, for the abdominal cavity to be laced together, for the skin to be pulled back down, and lastly for excess skin to be removed, and then making a new hole for the navel.

I asked the surgeon about the 24 hour admission, because I knew, that a different surgeon had recommended 4 days for the same surgery. Surgeon Y brushed it off, saying that it was overstated and unnecessary.

I was set for surgery on a Thursday, and I was prepared for the following pain to be very severe, which it was.

Friday morning after the surgery, 4 large drainage tubes (I've never before seen such large drainage tubes) were pulled out of my stomach. Y explained that there would be a bit of blood coming out. Everything is relative of course, but the "bit of blood" became a large puddle on the floor. The blood was running down my legs. My partner was shocked, and I could barely get up or stand in upright position.

I was now told that we should simply head home, and that I could simply take a few painkillers, if the pain was "really that bad". This mocking way in which she said this provoked me, and I told Y that it shouldn't be allowed to send patients home, when they're in such great pain. But Y merely told me that it was weekend now, and so she didn't have the capacity to keep patients.

I arrived at home, and was to remain in my bed for a weekís time Ė it became a living hell!

I didnít understand why my pains kept worsening. I was unable to sit up or lay down by myself, and would almost break into tears when I had to use the bathroom, because it was so incredibly painful.

On the 4th day, my partner rang surgeon Y to discuss the situation. He was told that we were welcome to stop by for a check-up, despite that she would have to interrupt her golf session.

I was close to tears simply by the thought of the car ride, going over bumps and such, but there was no way around it. We managed to get there, and meet up with Y, who was still wearing her golfers outfit.

I came in and managed to make my way up onto the examination couch, to which Y commented that I evidently was perfectly capable of getting around by myself. Y had a brief look at my stomach and quickly came to the conclusion that everything was fine. Y then asked me if I hadn't expected that surgery would hurt a bit afterwards.

Embarrassed of having inconvenienced the surgeon we drove home, and by the time we had arrived back I came to the conclusion that I was probably just a delicate little soul. After that I stayed out of bed.

I even cooked, and my father-in-law came and joined us. I then started taking a shower, but suddenly I collapsed in the shower, due to severe pains. Later that evening I started to freeze like crazy. I took my temperature, which showed that I had a fever of 39 C.

A doctor on call came out to see me. He rang surgeon Y, who was very annoyed, since I'd just been with her for the check-up. The doctor told her that I looked pretty ill, and he prescribed two strong antibiotics for me. He told me that if I was better the next day it would all be fine.

I was so happy the next morning when I realised that my fever had gone. Unfortunately, the joy was only temporary. During the evening I quickly reached over 41 C in fever, and I was admitted to hospital as an emergency.

I spent the entire night in the ward for organ surgery. My bed was in the hallway because of overcrowding, and I kept getting worse and worse. I got flashbacks from my earliest childhood, and the thought of dying crossed my mind. I could just be laying there dying, and no one would notice until it was too late. I was so ill! The staff were busy, so I was left to myself. Eventually I fell asleep.

In the morning, a chief surgeon from the plastic surgery ward came to see me. He had a good look at me, felt my stomach a bit, and said that I needed be operated on immediately, as I had a boil inside my stomach! Everything was happening so fast. I was rushed into the operating theatre right away.

From the moment I woke up, I felt better than I'd felt since the first day after surgery.

The chief surgeon told me that he had put a lot of gauze into my wound, which was to be removed the day after, and that I would probably be a little upset with him, when he did this. The man was very warm and friendly.

The gauze was to be removed the next day. There were several metres of gauze coming out. He kept pulling and pulling. I didn't make a sound, although my eyes were wide open.

I left with a great feeling of anger. I wanted to call and speak to surgeon Y, but the staff in the hospital advised me not to. They said that I should use my energy on getting better. I told them that I wouldn't have rest in my soul before I'd spoken to Y.

I called the surgeon at private hospital X and explained how it wasnít the infection that made me angry, but the total lack of empathy and compassion from surgeon Y, and for ignoring a patient in pain. I told Y that as a woman who had given birth to 3 children Ė last one a caesarean section Ė I knew about pain. Furthermore, I've had 5 cysts removed from one of my ovaries. During all of this, I'd been told by the staff that I'd recovered very quickly on my own.

I also explained the impact on my children, who were unable to understand, why their mother would just lay in bed all day and cry.

Yís response was that there was always room for improvement, and that Y had had a clinic for several years, but maybe there were a few things to revise, such as the time of the week a patient is committed, in regard to the time needed for admission.

I was then told by Y, that once I had gotten over my anger, I should drop by for a check-up and a chat.

Itís now been a year. Not too long ago I rang the private hospital and booked a consultation through a secretary.

The secretary called a few days later to tell me that I needed a new referral in order to get a free consultation. I made a point of what Y had said to me earlier on, but the secretary insisted, and I was unable to speak to Y personally.

I am now supposed to get a referral, but this wonít be possible to get before my consultation, so I chose to spend the £ 60 which is the price for a consultation.

Y didn't come to see me for the check-up. I've heard nothing from Y at all since then. I've only had pictures taken before my operation. None was taken at the check-up. On the other hand, I donít really wish to see the after-pictures of myself, as I'm fully aware that these will look worse than the before-pictures.

My stomach looks horrible today.

Sincerely, She who will never again go under the knife.