Erlene Taylor was traumatised after a routine medical procedure that went wrong - and it turns out she is not alone.
Yesterday's Taranaki Daily News told the story of the how Mrs Taylor suffered terrible pain when she had a colonoscopy a couple of weeks ago.
Other people have since shared their stories of extreme pain and sedation that didn't seem to work.
New Plymouth's Goldie Fieldes had a colonoscopy last Friday and was still traumatised by the experience. But until she read Mrs Taylor's story she thought it was "just her".
And Janice Stone, from Hawera, endured a colonoscopy last Monday that had her screaming with pain.
Taranaki DHB Clinical Lead for Endoscopy Dr Campbell White said clinicians tried hard to avoid causing excessive pain during procedures and this was carefully monitored so that additional doses of sedation could be given as required.
And it was important not to lose sight of the big issue, he said.
Colonoscopy was the best way to detect bowel cancer and 75 per cent of cases could be cured if they were diagnosed and treated early.
"Bowel cancer is New Zealand's most common cancer and second biggest killer. It is very important that symptoms are not ignored," Dr White said.
A bowel cancer survivor, Mrs Stone was a colonoscopy veteran and knew what to expect.
At least that was what she thought.
Her experience on Monday was completely different.
"It was excruciating. The pain got so bad I was yelling," she said.
She had given birth to four children, so had a pretty high tolerance for pain, she said.
"But I couldn't handle it. I was moaning, finding it really hard going.
"The nurse was saying ‘Not much more.' I thought, I can't take any more."
She was anxious about having to have another procedure in three years time.
When Mrs Fieldes went into hospital last week she was told she could watch the procedure on the screen if she stayed awake.
So she assumed it wasn't that painful and went ahead without any sedation, she said.
"The pain was excruciating. I could not watch the screen as I had my eyes closed because of the pain.
"And I am sure if the assistant nurse could be found you would still find my fingernail imprints in her arm. I even asked them to stop and they said it would only be a few more minutes and carried on."
She was very upset, she said.
"I am 61 years old and for an even older person this may have had an even worse outcome than my being totally traumatised by this procedure."
Bowel Cancer New Zealand figures showed 100 people died from bowel cancer every month and 130 people were cured every month.
Dr White said he would encourage anyone with persistent change in bowel habit over several weeks, bleeding, severe pain or a lump in the abdomen to report their symptoms to their GP.
Last year in Taranaki 700 colonoscopies, 600 gastroscopies and 126 combined procedures were performed by clinicians at Taranaki DHB.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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