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This article was published on July 2nd, 2014
A woman has been left with a permanent facial disfigurement after a succession of operations were botched.
The 32 year old woman has been left devastated after learning she may never be able to smile again. The patient, who had a face deforming syndrome, was receiving surgery to remove an infection but after an error was made she needed to have a number of corrective operations to improve her appearance, which subsequently failed.
Having suffered from paralysis on her face since she was 14 years old, the patient had received a chance at improving the movement in her face after being fitted with a temporalis sling which used muscles from her thigh which were inserted into her cheek. This operation in 2007 was a success and she regained control of her face and was able to lead a ‘normal’ life where she could smile again without hiding her face.
A recent brain infection caused complications which meant, once more, she required an operation to remove the infection. She discovered that the surgeons had lifted the delicate muscle from the 2007 operation to remove the infection and this meant that the temporalis sling no longer functioned. She also found that the notes from her previous operation had not been requested by the hospital and, as a result, mistakes were made which meant that she would need further corrective surgery.
Unfortunately the damage had been done and further operations failed to rectify the mistake and she is unlikely to regain control of her face.
She said: “It was the worst point in my entire life when I saw what they had done, my face was ruined.
“They had completely destroyed my chances of smiling again. I physically hated the way my face looked and just wanted to shut the entire world out.
“After the surgery I couldn’t bear to look at myself again and it was the lowest I had ever felt.
“The two hospitals that did the operations just hadn’t communicated with each other at all.
“If they had read the notes sent over to them they would have known not to remove the muscle and my face would still be fine.
“I’ve had 16 operations in total including having a scar created to look like a laughing line on my right hand side.
“But I’m not having any more now – I’m done.”
The woman was awarded a substantial sum in compensation from the Hospital NHS Foundation Trust concerned with her case, after admitting clinical negligence.
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