18 July 2014
Grandmother Who Had 12 Surgical Operations Left in Constant Pain
An obese grandmother who shed more than 11st has condemned surgeons after a botched skin reduction operation left her in chronic pain.
Nicola Woolley dropped eight dress sizes after being told she would not live to see her new born grandchildren grow up when she ballooned to 26st.
Determined Mrs Woolley managed to reduce her weight to under 15st after doctors recommended she undergo a gastric bypass procedure but she was left with unsightly folds of excess skin. The 45-year-old was delighted when she was sent for a further operation to remove the mounds of sagging skin from around her abdomen and waist.
However her weight loss dream soon turned into a nightmare when surgeons botched the procedure by removing too much skin; leaving her in constant agony.
The grandmother-of-four has now received a six-figure clinical negligence compensation pay out after instructing Slater and Gordon Lawyers to take legal action against Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.
Mrs Woolley, from Chesham, Bucks said, “I decided to start losing weight as I knew that my health was starting to suffer and it was important to me to see my grandchildren grow up. I underwent the surgery on the advice of my doctor and was living a healthy lifestyle but when you lose a lot of weight you end up with a lot of excess skin so I was put forward for an operation to remove it.
“I was told the procedure was simple and I never imagined anything could go wrong never mind be left in constant agony with horrific scars. My main motivation throughout this whole ordeal was the thought of being able to play with my grandchildren, but now I am in a situation which is even worse than before. It’s a living nightmare.”
Mrs Woolley went in for a gastric banding procedure at Luton & Dunstable Hospital in 2007 when she weighed 26st. After the operation her weigh plummeted down to 15st leaving her needing an operation to remove unsightly folds of skin around her abdomen and waist.
Mrs Woolley was seen by a specialist at the hospital in 2009 and was advised she needed a Belt Lipectomy and Abdominoplasty otherwise known as lower body lift and a tummy tuck.
The mother-of-four went under the knife for the operation on 19 August 2009 but was immediately concerned when she was returned to the ward with severe blisters and deeply bruised skin on her behind.
In the days following the operation Mrs Woolley began to feel worse and was diagnosed with Epidermolysis; a skin condition which results in serious blistering of the skin.
Despite no improvement in her condition and suffering significant pain, the patient was discharged on 28 August 2009 only to be readmitted the next day after her wounds began oozing and her temperature sored.
Mrs Woolley was taken into surgery and underwent two operations to remove ‘undermined areas’ from the first procedure consisting of two huge sections of dead tissue from her buttocks. However the surgical procedures failed to solve the problem leading to a further nine operations including multiple skin grafts, fluid drainage and tummy tucks.
Despite undergoing a total of 12 operations Mrs Woolley says she is still in ongoing constant pain in her buttocks and lower back resulting in difficulty sitting or standing.
She said, “I thought I was doing the right thing by losing the weight as I wanted to be healthier. I feel embarrassed by my body, I look horrendous and the scarring is beyond what I could have imagined in my worst nightmares.
“The doctors had scheduled in future operations for the removal of excess skin on my arms and thighs but I just can’t have any more surgery as I am worried about the consequences.
“However the worst part is the pain, I can’t stand or sit down without extreme pain so playing with my grandchildren is impossible. Doctors have told me there is nothing they can do to help me so I am going to have to suffer with this for the rest of my life. I’m devastated.”
Mrs Woolley said, “My life has been turned upside down since the operation. There are so many things I used to take for granted that I simply can’t do anymore. The compensation settlement will allow me to make alterations to my house and prepare for a future with the horrendous injuries I will now have to live with for the rest of my life.”
Slater and Gordon Clinical Negligence Solicitor Iona Meeres-Young, who represented Mrs Woolley said, “Nicola will be in lifelong pain. The compensation will allow her to fund a comprehensive and coordinated program of pain management and psychological support.
“She will also be able to implement a care regime and adapt her home to regain her independence. Nicola has been imprisoned by her debilitating pain and is unlikely to work again, but this result goes some way to restore her quality of life.”
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