21 May 2018
Young Woman Left ‘Locked in’ After Botched Surgery Stuns Medics With Incredible Recovery
A young woman left ‘locked in’ her body after a devastating medical blunder is stunning doctors with her incredible recovery.
Teenager Anna White was left paralysed, unable to walk or talk, when what should have been a routine operation to remove her appendix went horribly wrong.
A keen gymnast and aspiring midwife, overnight she became totally dependent on others and was warned she could be like that for life.
But six years on and mum Donna, who refused to give up hope, says her determined daughter is improving every day.
With the help of therapists, the 21-year-old is learning to walk again and perform the simple, everyday tasks that most of us take for granted. Her speech is also slowly returning and a board of letters she used to spell out words has long since been thrown out.
Donna, from Wigan, said: “I always had hope, but this is a dream. I can’t stop smiling, I’ve got a grin like a Cheshire cat. All I ever wanted was to hear her voice again.
“She’s just so determined. She has parallel bars and a rollator to practice walking and she’s on them all the time.
“The therapist asked her to practice pinching her fingers and thumbs together so she went out and bought Kerplunk.
“She’s learned to feed herself, to drink, to clean her own teeth and brush her own hair. She has always taken pride in her appearance and she can even do her own makeup now.
“I always said ‘never say never’ and I don’t even use the words that she’s unlikely to do something now because she’s proving everyone wrong.
“She’s just amazing, my Anna. She’s smashing targets all the time.”
This year also marks a new start for Anna and Donna, 41, who have spent the last six locked in a legal battle with Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust which governs the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary.
It was there, while recovering from surgery, that an unwashed cannula used to administer anaesthetic for her operation flushed the remains through Anna’s body, causing a cardiac arrest which starved her brain of oxygen.
The Wigan hospital later admitted negligence, but only recently settled the case for an undisclosed sum.
Lauren Tully, a clinical negligence specialist at law firm Slater and Gordon, who represented the family, said: “Anna was the innocent victim of a devastating and avoidable mistake and the priority here was to make sure that she would be looked after, whatever happens.
“While her progress so far and her prognosis are better than any of us could have hoped for, she may still need care for the rest of her life.
“No one knows what the future holds, but I very much hope that it will see Anna’s continued improvement and I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.”
Donna, who quit her job as a cleaner to become a full-time carer for Anna, said she now finally feels able to relax and focus on the future. While she hopes to put her newfound knowledge to good use and train as an occupational therapist, Anna has her sights set on a holiday to LA.
Donna added: “The day after we settled I just lay in bed thinking ‘I don’t have to worry.’ Whatever happens she is fine now, she is secure, she is protected for life.
“I feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can concentrate on getting Anna right.
“You sink or swim and we’re swimmers. My motto has always been ‘never give up’ and we won’t, we like proving these doctors wrong far too much for that.”
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