A FORMER St Mary's Hospital nurse has sued the Isle of Wight NHS Trust for £200,000 after her surgery was botched.

Karen Byrne, 53, of East Cowes, suffered a leaking ureter — the duct which passes urine from the kidneys to the bladder — following an operation in February, 2016.

The operation, to remove her large bowel, was carried out to treat her ulcerative colitis.

Karen suffered psychological trauma and lived with severe pain for nearly five weeks after the surgery at St Mary's, where she worked as an operational lead.

It was only when she returned to the hospital that doctors diagnosed damage to her ureter, caused during the surgery.

She has called for lessons to be learnt at the trust, after she was forced to medically retire as a result of the substandard surgery.

The trust has admitted liability, but a compensation agreement has yet to be reached.

Karen underwent reconstructive surgery and has been left with ongoing bladder problems and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

She has had to be medically retired from her job at St Mary’s as Operational Lead.

Karen said: "The past few years have just been a devastating nightmare.

“After the operation I just couldn’t believe how wiped out I felt. Everything was a real struggle, the pain was constant and just would not go away.

"It was clear to me that something was seriously wrong, and it was frightening no-one appeared to take this with the seriousness it merited.

"It's clearly a sensitive and sometimes embarrassing illness when you have bowel problems, but instead of protecting my dignity, the general care I received left me feeling humiliated.

"I am devastated I had to give up the job I loved and I now struggle to complete some daily tasks that most people take for granted.

"My only hope now is the trust can learn from what happened to me and reinforce to its staff the need to provide top quality care at all times.

"Hopefully then others won’t have to suffer like I have.”

A spokesperson for the Isle of Wight NHS Trust said: “We are truly sorry for the harm caused as a result of this case.

“We would like to reassure local people lessons have been learned and that we have done a lot to improve our services since 2016 and we will work hard to make sure they keep on improving.”

Karen was diagnosed with colitis in 2012, which she managed through medication including steroids and immunosuppressants for around three years.

In December, 2015, following a hospital consultation with a surgeon, it was agreed she would undergo the operation to remove her large bowel.

Three days after the operation, on February 24, it was noted during medical rounds that Karen was weak, had vomited and her abdomen was tender.

Following problems with the draining of her stoma, she was discharged on March 9.

After Karen returned to A&E on March 26, complaining of severe pain and a fever, her damaged ureter was diagnosed.

Subsequent surgery to repair Karen’s ureter was unsuccessful and she had to undergo reconstructive surgery in November, 2016.

Rebecca Brown, medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Southampton office, representing Karen, said: “What should have been fairly routine surgery to alleviate symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis for Karen has led to several years more pain and mental anguish.

"The consequences of the sub-standard surgery, and then delays in diagnosing Karen’s subsequent condition, are still having a profound effect on her life.

“Karen has been further upset by the trust originally failing to acknowledge any issues in the care it provided to her when she made an official complaint.

"It was only after our investigations the trust admitted its duty of care towards her fell way below what patients should expect to receive.

“We are now working to help Karen access the specialist support she needs to try and overcome her ordeal the best she can.

“We also hope her case acts as a warning as to why hospital trusts and staff need to uphold the highest standards of care at all times.”

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