This article was published on December 9th, 2015
A 66 year old woman has received a five figure, undisclosed sum in an out of court settlement after her surgeon use permanent metal stitches inside her neck following a thyroid operation, knowing that she had a rare phobia. The woman suffers from an unusual and acute phobia of foreign objects in her body which led to a severe psychological reaction on learning she had 25 metal clips inside her body.
According to the patient, she made the surgeon aware of her crippling fear of foreign objects in her body but the operation was carried out regardless, in a private hospital, and she was under the impression that the surgeon would be using dissolvable stitches because of her phobia.
After the operation, she did panic seeing tubes in her arms and did try to pull them out, but at that time was unaware that she had 25 metal clips inside her.
Later that year, she complained of breathing difficulties and went to see a specialist and it was following an X-ray showing that she saw there were clips inside her neck and had an immediate panic attack.
She said, “I can’t remember getting home from that meeting,” .
“I can only explain the feeling as similar to when you have a near miss in a car accident, that jolt of panic, followed by feeling out of control.
“I know I went to my GP’s surgery and told them there was metal inside me and they had to take it out.
“At that point, my GP began proceedings to section me under the Mental Health Act.”
She had to go through therapy to try and come to terms with her phobia.
“I genuinely tried hard with the therapy for months, but it got to the point where I was making lists of things to do the next day so that I had a purpose to be alive day by day.
“I lived in constant fear that I would wake up to find more tubes or clips inside me.”
The patient claims her warnings about her acute phobia were not taken seriously by the consultant surgeon before the operation and that another doctor had already told her that an alternative procedure without clips was possible. She claimed she told her surgeon that she did not want the surgery using clips but that clearly the surgery went ahead with the permanent stitches and therefore she was exposed to unnecessary stress, which she claimed ruined her life.
“It’s like putting an arachnophobe into a room full of spiders and telling them not to be so silly.”
The clips were eventually removed in private surgery after she claimed the foreign bodies were having a serious effect on her mental state.
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