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Friday, 2 March, 2001, 09:14 GMT
'I was left mutilated'
Bloom Chantry
Bloom Chantry was left scarred and in pain
Bloom Chantry went into hospital for a straightforward test - but an 'adverse event' left her needing major surgery.

A retired singer, now in her early 70s, Mrs Bloom, from West London, had been remarried only 18 months when she went to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for a colonoscopy.

The procedure uses a camera on a probe to examine the lower part of the bowel.

However, once the procedure was underway, something went wrong.

The whole joy of being married has been marred for us

Bloom Chantry
She told BBC News Online: "I thought it was a safe procedure - I knew other people who had had it done.

"I was looking at the pictures from the probe, and I saw it go cloudy.

"The doctor told me that this often happens, but I started to feel sick within seconds."

In fact, the colonoscope had perforated Bloom's colon, a potentially serious situation.

Major operation

She said: "There was panic in the room, but not from me - I'd been given Valium, so I was totally calm."

However, a major abdominal operation was needed to repair the damage - and she was warned that she might even have to wear a colostomy bag afterwards.

Fortunately, the surgeons were able to prevent this becoming necessary, but there were plenty of other serious problems for Bloom to contend with.

After a two-week stay in hospital, she went home with a six-inch scar on her stomach, constant discomfort from a hernia and irritable bowel symptoms.

She said: "I'll never be the same again. I feel like they have mutilated me.

Nightmarish experience

"The whole joy of being married has been marred for us."

She says she still has nightmares about the hospital and her treatment, even four years later.

The hospital settled her court case for 13,000, although she says nothing could repay her for the damage.

Colonoscopies, like any medical procedure, carry a small risk of injuries such as Bloom's, but she feels it was avoidable.

She said: "I don't know whether it was negligence, or just an accident, but it was sloppy, and it has left me damaged forever."

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02 Mar 01 | Health
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