Woman with faulty tummy tuck compensated

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A grandmother has been awarded more than £20,000 in compensation after a botched tummy tuck operation caused her belly button to 'explode' on a plane.

Patricia Jackson, 68, from Bridlington, Yorkshire, was flying home from a week's holiday in Portugal when her belly button 'erupted'.

This caused foul smelling stomach contents to leak from her abdomen, causing other passengers to complain about the smell.

Mrs Jackson, the manager of a residential care home, decided to have a tummy tuck when she was 60 because she was unhappy with her appearance.

She had lost weight but was self-conscious about the saggy skin and fat left on her stomach.

As a result, she underwent surgery at a private hospital in 2005.

During the operation, surgeons removed extra skin and fat as well as tightening the muscles in the abdominal wall.

But, they did not create a new belly button for Mrs Jackson because she was told there was not enough material left over, which is a common occurrence in this type of surgery.

However, they had left parts of the old one inside her.

Mrs Jackson said: 'For the first year after the operation, everything was fine and I went to work as normal.

'However, I was due for a yearly check-up and it was during this time that the surgeon was concerned about the scarring because it looked quite bad.

'It didn't really bother me but he admitted me to hospital overnight.'

An ultrasound scan revealed an infection under the scar, which was treated with antibiotics.

The wound was dressed and drained and Mrs Jackson was then discharged from hospital.

After returning home, Mrs Jackson started to experience pain and an unexplained foul smelling discharge leaking from her abdomen, which made her feel embarrassed and self-conscious.

Mrs Jackson became increasingly worried about the recurring leaking and was referred to several specialists.

The medical teams failed to determine the actual cause of the discharge which was that her old belly button had been left inside her.

Instead, doctors blamed the discharge on an infected stitch.

In 2011, Mrs Jackson felt confident enough to go on holiday to Portugal.

However, before she caught the return flight, she noticed that there were blisters around where her old belly button should have been.

Once she had boarded the plane, her belly button unexpectedly burst and the area started to leak, causing the passenger next to her to complain about the smell.

Luckily, the air stewardess was able to help her to dress the wound as best she could.

Despite the help from the on-board staff, Mrs Jackson says she felt tearful and embarrassed.

She had to sit on the aisle seat and keep re-dressing the leaking wound in the toilets.

When the plane finally landed, she called her brother to take her immediately to Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax, where the wound was cleaned and dressed properly.

No longer trusting her original surgeon, Mrs Jackson declined the offer of returning to the first hospital, instead choosing Castle Hill NHS Hospital in Hull.

There, it was discovered that her old belly button was still inside her and this had broken down, causing the pain and leaking.

After undergoing reconstructive surgery, Mrs Jackson was given a new belly button and now experiences no leaking problems.

Mrs Jackson has now been awarded £22,500 in compensation from the surgeon who conducted the operation after the case was settled out of court.

Jeanette Aspinall, head of medical negligence at Fletchers Solicitors, who helped with the case, said: 'This case highlights how easy it is for an everyday cosmetic surgery procedure, like a tummy tuck, to go wrong, both with the surgery itself and if the proper after care is not administered.

'Mrs Jackson had the operation to gain confidence, and instead was subjected to years of pain and embarrassment.

'While Mrs Jackson is happy with the final result of the case after years of anger, she is now understandably fearful of undergoing any further surgery, should she need it in the future.

'She is now keen to put this incident behind her and highlight to others the problems of not receiving the proper after care after cosmetic surgery.'

Mrs Jackson added: 'I was angry when I first contacted Fletchers Solicitors because I felt that I had been neglected by The Hospital Group and the surgeon, and it wasn't fair.

'I was extremely pleased with the compensation - Fletchers Solicitors got me the amount that they could.

'The result of my case means that awareness has been raised and it can hopefully change patient care in the future.'

- The Daily Mail

- Daily Mail

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