"I was admitted to ward immediately and was scheduled for an emergency operation, which I followed without any hesitancy. In the operation theatre, I was briefed that I will be given a half body anaesthetic (spinal) and they will wait if it works for me. If not, then it was mentioned to me that I will be given a general anaesthetic before starting the operation. I had given my consent after understood the whole procedure. The medical officer then had multiple attempts to insert the spinal catheter but it seemed that she could not really find the exact spot. I was quite disappointed with this; especially that it was my first time having an operation and I had great pain from these multiple injections. After trying several more times, I was asked to lie down and I thought that she had found the correct spot to inject the anaesthetic. I was asked by one of the nurses from time to time if I feel any numbness of my legs. However, each time I kept informing the staff nurse that I still can feel the normal sensation in my limbs. I was also asked to lift my legs and I could do so perfectly at that time. I believe this showed that I was not completely anaesthetised. Apart from all these, I was able to follow the instructions as I trusted the staffs were experienced enough and I saw that the surgeons have started preparing their tools for the surgery.
At first, I felt a pulling with pain sensation at my bikini line and I was asked if I felt pain; I immediately replied “YES” as I was able to feel the sensation. The pulling was repeated and I still tell them I can still feel the pain. To my surprise, the surgeon straight away did the same thing which I believe they have started the incisions and the operation, although I had mention to the staff that it was very painful when asked. The nurse who was all the time standing above my head had of course noticed that I was in great pain; she had also kept on asking if I still feel the pain and I still kept on telling her “YES”. I had to endure the great pain for a long time that I could not say anything anymore. I also felt the great pain of pulling, in and out of my stomach; and until I passed out. Before I passed out, I could only remember that someone asked to give me the entonox gas but even at that time I could still feel the great pain and the gas did not help at all.
Unfortunately, I was never informed of the above incident after I came out the operating theatre. Later, after being transferred to the ward, I was informed of my baby's poor health condition and needing NICU admission by my husband. Dr Marya, the on-call specialist that night obviously was not informed of the above incident by the medical officers involved.
I had informed this incident to my sister in law – Dr Hayati Yaakup from HUKM; and she had helped me to follow up with Dr Marya. Since Dr Marya is in Labuan, Dr Haslina has called me up regarding this issue on 15th January 2011. During my conversation with Dr Haslina, there were many discrepancies of what was written or reported on the operation note and what had happen to me. My sister in law had the chance to look at the operative note and had spoken the nursing staff assisting my baby who clearly remembers there was no word mentioning general anaesthesia. Therefore, Dr Haslina had advised me further that it's best to write to you on this matter.
I regard this as a traumatic experience; and I would appreciate you to investigate on this serious matter. I also seek your explanation on the below:
a. Why did the medical officer started the operation when I still inform them that I could still feel the pain?
b. Why didn't they give me general anaesthetic when they know the anaesthetic (spinal) did not work?
c. Dr Haslina informed me that, it was stated that I was given the general anaesthetic after the baby had been delivered. Why was I given the general anaesthetic only after I passed out and after the baby had been delivered? (Has someone altered the operative note after my sister in law had enquiry regarding this matter?)
d. After I had regained consciousness, why wasn't there any doctor confronting me to inform me what had happened to me and/or to my baby? No doctors inform my husband who was waiting outside the operation theatre any information and that my baby was already sent to NICU. Why is this so? Is this a normal practice?
e. There was no apology at all of what had happened in the operation theatre but the staffs knew that I had to endure great pain until I passed out. Why is this so?
I seek for your kind assistance to investigate this traumatic experience that I had briefly stated in this letter. I greatly appreciate an appointment with you for further clarification and you may also call me at the stated number below at any time. I am greatly disappointed of what had happened as I had put in a great trust to your surgeons and staffs."
Unfortunately, I receive a reply letter with no clear explanation of what happened and no apology at all.. We'll see what happens later after the appointment with them next week.