Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Woman's shock as brain op is cancelled at last minute

A woman whose brain surgery was cancelled 10 minutes before she was due to be taken to theatre is calling for a major review of the health service.

Loughbrickland mother-of-two Susan Coburn says she has lost faith in the health service following her experience this week.

Mrs Coburn, who suffers from a rare and life-threatening brain condition, was due to undergo brain surgery on Thursday.

However, 10 minutes before her allotted time at 3pm, her surgeon, dressed for home with his car keys in hand, informed her the operation was cancelled.

She said: “I was in disbelief and shocked.

“You are ready to be wheeled down to the theatre and then the surgeon comes to me with his car keys in his hands, ready to go home, to tell me ‘We are sorry, there is nothing we can so about it, your surgery was cancelled.’”

Mrs Coburn suffers from a rare brain condition which means her skull is abnormally small, so tissue from the back of her brain protrudes into the spinal column.

The operation at the Royal Victoria Hospital was to relieve the pressure on her brain.

The 43-year-old explained: “The health service is in a terrible state. I don’t trust it and a lot of people don’t trust it.”

Her husband Rodney is also calling for an urgent review of the health service. He said: “The circumstances of this case need to be investigated, in terms of the availability of beds, the harmonising of beds with surgery and the administration of hospitals.”

A Belfast Trust spokeswoman denied there was any issue with bed shortages presently and would not comment on Mrs Coburn’s case.

The trust added: “We are sorry that at times theatre lists run over, resulting in some operations having to be postponed.

“When this happens they are rescheduled as soon as possible.”

Mrs Coburn’s surgery has been rescheduled for May 17.

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