Woman with new face in hospital with suspected kidney failure
The woman whose face was reconstructed in major surgery nearly a month ago has been in hospital with suspected kidney failure, her husband says.
Lee Brown said he called an ambulance to take his wife to Southland Hospital on Tuesday night and blood tests have revealed kidney failure.
She had been extremely tired, was slurring her speech and unstable on her feet, he said.
Brown had a scan on Wednesday to determine what was going on, and the results are due on Thursday morning. She may be transferred to Dunedin Hospital, he said.
"At the moment they have no idea why her kidneys are closing down and not functioning. They won't know until the MRI is done this morning.
"She's in the best place."
A Southern District Health Board spokeswoman said Brown was in a stable condition in Southland Hospital on Wednesday morning.
Brown, whose face was reconstructed during marathon surgery on August 15, spoke to Stuff on Monday about her long recovery from the surgery.
She was clearly tired and subdued and spoke of her frustration at not being able to shake off tiredness and having to rely on her husband to do everything for her.
She had endured a lot of facial pain and numbness since the surgery and her long recovery was the toughest thing she had gone through, she said.
Pain medication was helping and she was spending a lot of time sleeping, she said on Monday.
Brown said she had thought she would return to good health five days after surgery, but nearly a month later she was still sleeping about 20 hours a day.
She had lost nearly 5 kilograms since the operation, and on Monday said she was looking forward to the day when she again enjoyed her food.
Brown was born with neurofibromatosis, which causes multiple tumours to grow on nerves in her body, including her face.
When aged 7, a massive tumour dragging her face down was operated on for the first time, and she had undergone 18 operations during the years.
The first 17 had been unsuccessful in aligning her face, but the 18th operation, nearly a month ago, was different because bone was cut from her leg and moulded into a cheekbone which was screwed into her face using plates.
The cheekbone has given her face support and structure.
Other work included lifting the right side of her face, recontouring her eye socket and taking fat from her tummy to fill a defect in her temple.
She was to have "tidy-up surgery" in the next few weeks.
- The Southland Times