"Failed breast reconstructions"
About: Royal Hallamshire Hospital Royal Hallamshire Hospital Sheffield S10 2JF
I have had two failed breast reconstructions at this hospital since 2010. They were different types and performed by different surgeons in the plastics dept.
I should mention at this point that I am a 50+, reasonably healthy non smoker who drinks very little alcohol and walks miles every week for exercise.
The first operation ( removal of previous implant due to deterioration and replacement with a new implant) failed due to an infection and which was resistant to IV antibiotics administered several days after surgery. The surgeon insisted at OP appt several months later that no infection remained despite redness in the breast and my feeling generally unwell.. The infection eventually worsened, the implanted breast became redder, swollen and very hot. At another South Yorks hospital the infection was regarded as potentially life threatening and the implant was removed after yet more IV antibiotics failed to control matters.
The second failed reconstruction was due (I am told by no. 2 surgeon) to a blood clot / poor blood supply to an 'own tissue' transplant, known as a DIEP flap.
You would hope that after the first failure, no. 2 surgeon would go to any lengths to ensure the second recon. operation worked correctly and watch for problems, but I was left in the care of junior / less senior doctors immediately post op for 19 to 20 hours during which time the flap failed. By the time the surgeon visited me mid morning of the next day and took action, it was too late to save the majority of the reconstruction.
I was sent home on the 6th day post op and not readmitted to hospital for surgery to remove the black, necrotic tissue which was leaking foul smelling body fluids, for another 23 days, despite my obvious distress at OP appts.
No effort was made by the plastics dept. during OP appts to control the odour coming from the flap which was making me feel quite ill (the disgusting smell from gangrenous tissue is unbelievable) and alienating me from friends and family.
I now know that there are dressings / creams etc. available which can help with this problem, but nothing was offered.
I have endured 8 surgeries, numerous OP appts, am left hideously deformed, and scarred both mentally and physically by my experiences at this hospital.
One year on from my final surgery I am still undergoing counselling for post traumatic stress disorder - which I had to arrange for myself (despite several nurses at RHH acknowledging that I was traumatised) as there are apparently no facilities for counselling at the hospital!