Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Australia: More public hospital negligence -- and no apology

Woman wakes during surgery but is paralysed and unable to scream. Hospital admits she woke but won't talk to her. This is the second horror from the Northern Territory in the last week

A Northern Territory woman says she will have nightmares for the rest of her life after an horrific operation gone wrong at the Alice Springs Hospital. During the ordeal Rebecca Jones, 24, claims she woke up during abdominal surgery and could feel every cut of the surgeon's knife, the Northern Territory News reports. But she was unable to scream for help as the anaesthesia had paralysed her.

Ms Jones said she woke up just as doctors were about to start the full operation. She was paralysed and could not open her eyes, but could hear and feel everything. "I was very aware of what was happening to me," she said. "I thought the doctors had woken me up because the surgery was over - I quickly realised that was not the case. "It first hit me when I tried to take a breath. I couldn't move and started to panic. I could feel them cutting me open. I can't describe how it felt. I've never felt anything like it before.

"I was freaked out. Then I actually managed to move my hand and someone in the room noticed it. "He said, 'she's just moved her hand'. But they kept going. I was trying to scream, to do anything."

The hospital's general manager Vicki Taylor has refused to meet with Ms Jones over the issue and refused to be interviewed last night. In a written statement last night, Ms Taylor conceded Ms Jones had been "awake" during the operation to remove her gall bladder. She denied the hospital knew of Ms Jones' pain. [But she was AWAKE, stupid bitch!]

But an official hospital review of the case stated a second anesthetist had found "the administration of the anesthetic may not have been adequate" and adjustments were made. Ms Jones said hospital staff had been "well aware" she was in agony. "My husband was told that I'd almost died on the operating table," she said. "Doctors said the heart machine was going crazy, my oxygen levels were really low and my blood pressure was high."

Ms Jones has discussed the case with the NT Health Ombudsman and is considering legal action.


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