Kidney illness under control for woman with new face
A woman whose kidneys failed on Tuesday, nearly three weeks after she endured a 16-hour facial reconstruction at Dunedin Hospital, is now much better.
Christine Brown, whose face surgery was on August 15, was rushed to Southland Hospital this week and diagnosed with kidney failure.
Her facial surgeon, Matthew Leaper, said on Thursday that Brown would remain in hospital for up to a week.
"It was renal failure and fortunately it's come right."
Brown's kidney failure was the result of urinary retention, leaving her confused and "not very well", he said.
However, her blood tests were coming right on Thursday.
"Essentially she needs some rest and rehab."
Brown had been discharged from Dunedin Hospital on August 23, eight days after her 16-hour face operation, and at that stage she was "really good", Leaper said.
"She was leaving the ward, going out to the supermarket ... her blood tests were all good at that stage. So she was mobile and doing well [when discharged from Dunedin]."
"She looked perky when she went home ... her kidney function was totally normal on the day she left."
He saw her last week and she was a bit run down but the facial wounds were healing, he said.
However, her health had deteriorated in recent days.
It was difficult to pinpoint the reason for her kidney failure, but it could have been from one of the pain medications she was taking or from an infection, he said.
When Brown was fully recovered from her health scare, Leaper would do follow-up surgery on her face in Dunedin.
This would include lifting the corner of her mouth and adjusting her eyelid.
"But we want to get her well first."
Brown's husband, Lee, said his wife's health was much better on Thursday.
"Her kidneys are functioning as they should."
He had spoken to her and she wanted to go home, he said.
"The specialist has made it quite clear he isn't going to release her [from Southland Hospital] until she is perfect."
- The Southland Times