‘They took my ovary without my consent’

Heather Johns
Heather Johns

A HOSPITAL trust has apologised to a mother of two 
after failing to tell her that surgeons had removed one of her ovaries.

Heather Johns, of Greville Road, Ore, claims she now suffers from chronic irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as a result of the procedure.

The 39-year-old, who has a twin son and daughter, underwent key-hole surgery in November 2011 to remove her right fallopian tube but said the operation at the Conquest had ‘ruined’ her life.

But she claims she may never have found out about the operation if she had not returned to the hospital.

She said: “I needed the operation to remove the tube as I have suffered in the past with health problems and it was infected.

“I signed a consent form at the hospital for only the right tube to be taken out, not the ovary. So they removed it without my consent.

“It was still healthy and working properly.”

Miss Johns told the Observer she contacted the Conquest in April 2012 to be examined as she was still in a lot of pain.

She said: “The gynaecologist told me that my right ovary had been removed and asked me if I knew this already. I didn’t so this was the first I’d heard it had.

“I was totally shocked at the news and devastated as they didn’t tell me they had done this on the day of the operation. I am still devastated even though it is two years on.

“I think the hospital wouldn’t have even told me my ovary had been removed if I had not gone back six months after the operation. I wasn’t even booked in for a follow-up appointment after the procedure.

“I am angry at the way I have been treated. I was told the ovary was removed because it could be cancerous but there were no signs of cancer in the smear tests and blood tests I had before the operation.

“I have had more than two years of stress and now have terrible IBS which means I can’t even go out for a meal. I’ve written letters to complain but all it can come up with is an apology.”

Miss Johns gave birth to her daughter Cara and son Riley in February 2011.

She said she would like to have more children but believes she can no longer have any more unless she undergoes In vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment.

Women who have had one fallopian tube removed can still conceive.

If a woman is missing one of her ovaries, the remaining ovary will continue to ovulate each month, making pregnancy possible.

Miss Johns added that she is awaiting an appointment from the Conquest to investigate her IBS further.

Dexter Pascall is the consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and clinical lead for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs both the Conquest and Eastbourne’s DGH.

He said: “We have written to Miss Johns on a number of occasions and senior gynaecologists have met with her twice to explain to her the issues around her operation.

“The surgeon removed the tissue which was within a single mass.

“Only under examination in pathology was this found to include ovarian tissue.

“We have apologised on a number of occasions for the delay in relaying to her the results of the pathology report.”