"Life changing and devastating."
About: Royal Blackburn Hospital Royal Blackburn Hospital Blackburn BB2 3HH
Posted via NHS Choices
What could be improved
Accuracy of information, given in plenty of time of the operation. Accurate reading of my blood results
For anyone needing thyroid removal, please be informed about the risks prior to your operation.
I underwent total thyroid removal last May at the Royal Blackburn Hospital. 5 minutes before I was due to be wheeled into the operating theatre I was told that there was a very small chance that i may be left with damage to my parathyroid glands, but that there was a one in one hundred chance of this happening and to put my mind at rest it had never happened before in this hospital. I was sent home the following day with a calcium reading well below average and the doctors and nurses failed to notice this. 3 days later my face and body was cramping and seizing. I was unable to hold a cup or move my mouth and i thought that I was having a stroke. As a young woman, I was horrified to learn that I was the one in a hundred and that the general surgeon had removed and damaged all four of my parathyroid glands beyond repair. I have since learnt that experienced thyroid surgeons will not make this mistake and although this is a difficult operation to perform, an experienced surgeon will ensure that the patient does not leave the operating table with a lifelong illness which is far worse that the one that they went in with.
If lessons are to be learnt by my experience, prospective thyroid patients should be made aware of the possibility of becoming hypoparathyroid and the reality of what this is .I do not believe that the estimates of one in one hundred to be accurate and have since learnt about the many people who live with this awful illness as a result of surgical mistakes. Thisinaccuracy needs to be addressed. Personally, I may have made a much more informed choice if I had been given accurate information in plenty of time before my operation, but I was not and I may even have opted to pay for a private surgeon specialising in thyroid removal.
It is not acceptable that I was told about this possibility just minutes before I was due to be operated upon.