Waimate woman complains after pain from surgery at Timaru Hospital fails to subside

Waimate's Marie McKay is using a borrowed wheelchair because the pain in her legs from an operation three weeks ago is ...
Mytchall Bransgrove

Waimate's Marie McKay is using a borrowed wheelchair because the pain in her legs from an operation three weeks ago is still too strong to walk.

Three-and-a-half weeks after an operation to tie her fallopian tubes and insert a bladder sling at Timaru Hospital, Waimate woman Marie McKay fears she may never walk properly again. 

The mother-of-three young children, who plays off the lowest handicap of any woman at the Waimate Golf Club, is now using a borrowed wheelchair to move around her home as an "icy" pain in her legs fails to disappear.

"This is not me," McKay said fighting back tears. "It's killing me and it's killing the kids to see me like this. I just want someone, anyone, to tell me what is happening, to tell me what is wrong."

McKay has made a formal complaint with the South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) about the operation and what she believes is a lack of care from Timaru Hospital since.

Health Board CEO Nigel Trainor said they were investigating the complaint and would meet with McKay once the findings of the investigation were known.

"We will continue to be in contact with her through this process."

The 34-year-old went into surgery at Timaru Hospital on September 8 and was sent home the same day with panadol and ibuprofen after complaining of "excruciating" soreness.

When the pain in her legs began getting worse four days later, McKay went back to Accident and Emergency.

An MRI scan found a 60mm by 45mm growth close to where the operation had taken place, but nothing that doctors felt explained the pain she was feeling.

She was sent home with crutches, despite protestations that she needed a wheelchair. Two days late McKay returned because her left leg and foot was now "pounding" with pain.

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She was booked in for further observation at Christchurch Hospital and travelled there by ambulance from Timaru two days later only to have to wait what she claims was more than five hours because the hospital were not expecting her.

Christchurch Hospital then referred her on to physio at Timaru Hospital. McKay said she was offered her the option of removing the bladder sling but she turned it down because of the potential complications.

McKay has been given a wheelchair to borrow by Waimate's Lister House and said three weeks after the operation she still could only move with "the shuffle of an 100-year-old lady".

SCDHB chief medical officer Richard Johnson said pain and discomfort was a symptom of any surgical procedure, along with nausea, tiredness, stiffness and sleep disturbance.

"However, and for reasons that we do not fully understand, these symptoms can affect some people much more than others," Johnson said.

"When this happens we provide further support, to look for complications that can be treated, and to help with symptoms like continuing pain."

McKay said the physical, emotional and financial toll of the operation and its aftermath had been immense.

Her partner Chris, who had proposed to McKay just weeks before it, was now off work. McKay said ACC would not cover her unless it accepted she had been injured by the surgery.

McKay's mother in law Raylene Leeder said the whole idea of being confined to a wheelchair was at odds with every inch of her daughter in law's personality.

"She would always be busy running around at 100 miles an hour," Leeder said.

"I just cannot understand how you can go into hospital a fit and happy person and come out a cripple.

"No-one is taking ownership for this and they need to."

 - Stuff

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