Woman’s surgery ordeal over metal clip

Cheryl Osborne. Picture copyright SWNS
Cheryl Osborne. Picture copyright SWNS

A GRANDMOTHER has told how she had to beg doctors to remove a surgical clip which had migrated across her body from her groin to her chest

Cheryl Osborne, 51, from Hastings, had the metal device fitted to her fallopian tubes when she was sterilised 12 years ago.

Three years ago she started suffering back, stomach and chest pain and an X-ray revealed a foreign body on her right rib.

But Mrs Osborne claims she was left in agony for a further four months until she finally convinced doctors to carry out keyhole surgery to remove the clip.

She believes the clip could have been travelling around her body since she first noticed pain three years as she remembers a medic spotting it on a scan in 2010.

Mrs Osborne is urging other sterilised women to demand answers if they are in pain.

She said: “I was in complete agony. I love walking and playing with my grandchildren but I was having to cancel visits as I felt so unwell.

“I could not lie on my back or right side as I was in so much pain.

“My friends and work colleagues said I looked grey, but despite clearly being in agony the doctors kept refusing to get the clip out of my body.

“I was so shocked and scared when I saw the clip on my rib. I believe it was on the move for three years - I can’t bear to think what damage it could have done to my body. I am lucky to be alive.

“I kept telling the doctors ‘there is a piece of metal in me, get it out’, but they reacted like it wasn’t a big problem.”

Mrs Osborne was sterilised at Conquest Hospital in 2001.

When she started to suffer from pain three years ago she was diagnosed with angina and became reliant on taking the maximum daily dose of strong painkiller co-codamol.

But when the pain got too much in December last year she went to her GP and was told her liver function was unusually high and needed monitoring.

A stomach X-ray taken at the Conquest on January 18 this year showed the clip nestled under her liver - behind her right rib.

Despite this she was sent home but returned to A&E a few days later on January 23 and was given an ultrasound which failed to spot the clip, so she was sent home again.

She went back to A&E on February 18 still in pain but was again told to go home - despite the doctor acknowledging that the clip was in the wrong place,

Eventually on March 25 Mrs Osborne got an appointment at the hospital with a registrar who booked her in for an emergency CT scan - which she had two weeks later on April 9.

An emergency MRI scan on April 21 confirmed the where the clip was and the clip was finally removed on May 13 and Mrs Osborne has suffered no pain since.

She said: “I know the NHS is pushed for funding and they are short-staffed but the care I received was appalling.

“Had I known the risks of the clip migrating across my body I would never have asked to be sterilised.

“Women need to know the risks and think twice about this operation.”

A spokesman for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust defended Mrs Osborne’s treatment.

“On each attendance at Accident and Emergency Mrs Osborne was treated appropriately,” he said.

“As she was not acutely ill she was, on each occasion, referred back to her GP. She was referred to a surgeon and tests were undertaken (not as an emergency) to fully investigate her symptoms.

It is the opinion of the surgeon treating her that the clip was not causing the symptoms she was describing. There was no clinical need for the procedure to remove the clip however it was decided to undertake the procedure because of Mrs Osborne’s severe anxiety. The last time this lady was seen in clinic she informed the surgeon that she was very happy.

“These clips commonly migrate and are harmless. It is not unusual this long after the original sterilisation procedure as the fallopian tubes do wither and deteriorate once they are divided and the clip has no tissue left to ‘hold’ onto.

“It is worth noting that over 8 million clips have been used worldwide and this technique used for more than 25 years. It is considered to be a safe technique by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.”