Procedure 'like something out of a horror movie'

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 20/02/2014
Erlene Taylor
ANDY JACKSON/ Fairfax NZ

IN PAIN: Erlene Taylor watched her own colonoscopy unfold on a screen when her sedation failed.

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A routine medical procedure turned into a nightmare for Erlene Taylor when she wasn't properly sedated and ended up in extreme pain.

Two weeks ago Taylor went in to Taranaki Base Hospital for a routine colonoscopy - her third - thinking she knew what to expect. She didn't.

"I felt everything. I could groan and moan and I was really doubled up with pain. There was a screen and I was watching my own bowel. It was like something out of a horror movie."

The procedure only took about 15 minutes, she said. "It seemed like bloody forever and I've been living it since then."

Taylor, 67, of Waitara, had a high risk of colon cancer so needed to have the procedure every five years.

"Never, ever again. I'd rather take my chances."

Taranaki District Health Board was investigating Taylor's concerns, clinical services manager Lee McManus said.

It was international best practice to perform colonoscopy's under sedation, not a general anaesthetic. The medication was given to relieve discomfort so the patient could tolerate the procedure, she said.

"This can be an uncomfortable procedure, but we do not expect our patients to be in immense pain.

"We take all patient feedback seriously and are very sorry that Mrs Taylor experienced such significant discomfort."

Taylor said when she went in for her second colonoscopy she told the surgeon she had experienced a bit of pain the first time, so he knocked her out, she said.

"This one was really horrible. Right from the onset it was really bad. The first week [after the colonoscopy] I was angry and freaked out. I couldn't tell anyone, in good words, how I felt."

One night, when she couldn't sleep, she decided to write to the TDHB.

"I got up at 12 at night. I rambled to 3 o'clock and then settled on a letter. I told them if I had been an animal, I would have the SPCA on my side."

Taylor saw a story in the Daily News yesterday about Wellington man Merv Archer, 79, who felt the knife cutting open his chest during a routine pacemaker operation.

It started her wondering how many other people had been through a similar experience.

Taylor had a bowel condition called diverticulitis which "played up" after the colonoscopy and she was re-admitted to hospital.

This had not happened after her other two procedures and she thinks her tensing up because of the pain upset the "whole apple cart".

McManus said the district health board was looking into the matter and would get back to Taylor as soon as possible.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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