In 18 November 1993 my wife had a routine gallbladder keyhole operation, which appeared to be successful. Two days later, she was given a bed pan and she thought that she was urinating. To her horror the pan was filling with blood. The surgeon on

During the afternoon she was visited by the Registrar who had the x-ray with him. He told her that the surgeon had performed a “superb operation”. Unfortunately a clip had come adrift and he feared that he might have to perform a laparotomy to rectify the problem. The next day, after the emergency operation, the registrar explained that not one but two clips had come adrift. The minor complication had been rectified and there would be no more problems.

The next day, she had an ultrasound examination. The doctor told her that there was at least three litres of fluid in her abdomen. During the fitting of the drain the doctor had to pause because a gush of fluid had shot onto her legs and shoes. She said the relief to her pain was immediate.

By December 5, the duty doctor found that her hemoglobin count was extremely low and said that she needed an immediate transfusion of two units of blood. She thought that she was still bleeding and would have to be operated on again. That night, after suffering 18 hours of fear, she asked me to send for a priest.

As it happened, my wife’s condition stabilized and she left the hospital. We then paid for a medical legal report which, though 15 pages, is full of errors. For instance, the review surgeon says, ‘There was no evidence that she was bleeding” on November 19. In fact, the nursing notes show that she gushed blood at 7.15 am on the 19th.

One is left feeling dissatisfied and wondering if the three surgeons are in fact acquainted with one another through various committees. W G, Kent.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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