Home   Ashford   News   Article

Woman recovering from vaginal mesh implant surgery left in agony turned away from William Harvey Hospital in Ashford

A mum says she was forced to catch a train to a London hospital while doubled up in pain after being turned away from an A&E department.

Suzanne Baxter was recovering from surgery in London to remove a vaginal mesh implant and went to the emergency department at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, while she was in agony.

Suzanne had surgery in London after being turned away at the William Harvey Hospital
Suzanne had surgery in London after being turned away at the William Harvey Hospital

The 53-year-old who is mostly bedbound and reliant on a cocktail of painkillers and tranquillisers, was referred by her GP to the department after developing the pain, so that transport could be arranged to University College Hospital (UCLH) in London, where her operation was carried out.

Suzanne's husband Michael said: "We were promised that we would be fast-tracked through the system as the A&E nurse said she could see how much agony Suzanne was in and that she would be given a trolley as sitting up causes her to bend where she had the surgery and leaves her in severe discomfort."

"It was pandemonium in the hospital but all we wanted was for patient transport to UCLH as its one of only a few centres that can treat Suzanne's condition, we didn't need to be blue-lighted there."

Suzanne said: "My pain was the worse it's been and I would describe it as 10 out of 10 - I was doubled up with it. Sitting up in a wheelchair at the hospital made it worse and I had to go the car to lie down because I couldn't cope with it."

"I was told I was at risk of developing sepsis..."

The couple claim they were passed around between clinical staff at William Harvey who ruled no urgent treatment was required and they say at one point a member of the nursing staff told them they were at risk of being forcibly removed from the hospital.

Failing to get treatment at the William Harvey on the evening of Friday, February 7, the pair returned to their home in Willesborough Ashford, where they spent the remainder of the night before catching the first train to London in the morning with Suzanne being transported in a wheelchair.

They caught a taxi from the station to UCLH, where Michael said their experience was totally different to the William Harvey: "Suzanne was quickly assessed; she went through minors to majors and admission in the space of an hour," he said.

Suzanne was informed that she had developed a blockage in a catheter that had been previously fitted and that she had an infection. She added: "I was told I was at risk of developing sepsis."

Michael and Suzanne in happier times
Michael and Suzanne in happier times

She had an operation to remove the catheter at UCLH and remained in the hospital for a week, leaving on Saturday.

Suzanne had vaginal mesh fitted in 2007 at Benenden Hospital to treat uterine (womb) prolapse and stress incontinence after the birth of her daughter Emily.

She is among thousands of women, including mum Julie Knight –who also had surgery at Benenden – to have experienced serious and life-changing effects from the procedure. It is now the subject of a government review led Baroness Cumberlege, who has since imposed interim restrictions on the surgery.

Suzanne's mesh has still only being partially removed and she needs further operations in London.

The mum, who has shed stones in weight and seen her hair fall out in chunks since her original surgery said: "What happened at William Harvey was horrendous. My pain was so bad that I had to lie down in my car in a freezing cold car park and I ended up having to get on a train to UCLH to get help."

"My pain was the worse it's been and I would describe it as 10 out of 10..."

A spokesman for East Kent Hospitals said: “We apologise that Mrs Baxter was unhappy with her care.

“Our staff sought advice from the specialist team at UCLH and we advised her to contact them to arrange an appointment.

“We are following up her concerns with her and we will review her experience in our emergency department.”

To keep up-to-date with all the latest developments with your local hospitals and other health stories, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More