Cleethorpes woman awarded £35k following gastric bypass surgery she claims went wrong
THIS Cleethorpes woman has been awarded £35,000 in a settlement after she claims gastric bypass surgery went horribly wrong.
Rachel Benefer, 28, weighed 23 stones, and resorted to surgery after struggling to lose weight because of health problems.
But following her keyhole surgery, doctors realised something was wrong, and she was rushed into intensive care before being placed in an induced coma.
It was claimed the surgeon had failed to close a small incision properly.
The mum-of-two spent a total of five weeks in hospital.
She said: "When I came out of the coma I couldn't walk, I was confused, I didn't know who anyone was and I was hallucinating.
"I kept asking my family what had happened and my memory is very patchy."
Rachel had struggled to lose weight due to a back injury and being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, which affects her hormones and caused her to pile on the pounds.
After researching gastric bypass surgery she was turned down for funding and had to see a dietician and psychologist for a year before she was allowed to have the operation.
She was referred to a surgeon at Hull Royal Infirmary and the operation was eventually funded by the NHS, but carried out at Hull and East Riding Classic Hospital.
The procedure reduced the size of her stomach and meant she could eat only small portions of food. It initially appeared to have gone well.
"Everything seemed fine and I was discharged," she said. "But a few days later I was being sick and I was in agony.
"I was rushed to hospital and ended up in intensive care for two weeks and was later placed in an induced coma."
It had been claimed the surgeon failed to suture one of the port entry sites used to insert the surgical instruments.
Rachel developed a hernia obstructing her small bowel, causing pressure which "blew out" the stomach bypass.
She then had acute peritonitis, an inflammation of the membrane which lines the inside of the abdomen and all of the internal organs. She needed two further operations.
"I spent a total of 11 days on a ventilator and also underwent a tracheotomy," she said.
"People think having a gastric bypass is an easy way out, but I had thought about it and had tried everything to lose weight, including hypnotherapy.
"When I was at 23 stone I was just a mess, I was depressed and also stopped working as a carer because I couldn't get about, I became a recluse.
"Before I hit puberty I was extremely thin but then the weight just piled on, even though I often only ate one meal a day.
"I didn't eat a lot of chocolate, sweets or crisps, I ate normal meals.
"My husband Chris has been by my side the whole time, we have been married for eight years and he loves me, no matter how much I weigh."
Rachel, of Clerke Street, claims she has been left with a number of problems since the operation in 2007.
"I can't move my big toe on my left foot and often fall over," she said.
"I have to use plastic plates because my hands seize up and I drop things, I'm even scared to be alone with my children."
She has sons, Jacob, two, and Aidan, who is just over a week old.
"At one point I went down to seven stones and after having another baby I now weigh about ten stones ten pounds," she said.
"People need to realise there can be complications, they need to research having a bypass and understand the risks involved."
Bridge McFarland lawyer and clinical negligence specialist Danielle Barney said about their case against the hospital: "This was a very painful experience for her and one that left her unable to work for a time and with an increased risk of serious long-term health problems.
"I am delighted that Rachel will now have some money to help her put this very traumatic experience behind her."
A spokesman for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: "I can confirm that we reached a settlement with this patient.
"They have previously lodged a formal complaint with the trust and we responded to them directly."