UK: Nurse left with tubing in body after surgery at London hospital; problem only discovered years later in Zimbabwe

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LONDON – A man has said he was left in agony after plastic tubing was left in his body after undergoing brain surgery.

Kennedy Mugovera, 51, from Swindon, had the procedure at the University College London Hospital in 2016.

After struggling to receive follow-up medical attention from the NHS, he went to doctors in Zimbabwe who recommended an urgent review.

In a statement the hospital said it has been in contact with Mugovera to arrange a meeting.

Since the operation, Mugovera, who works as a nurse, said he has developed numerous health issues which he believes to be a result of the tubing left behind in his abdomen by surgeons.

“Ever since the surgery I have had severe pain in my abdomen and my lower back and every time I tried to make contact with the hospital I struggled to get an appointment,” he said.

Mugovera was first seen at the hospital in 2013, during which he underwent surgery and a shunt was inserted into his brain to relieve pressure, but it did not work.

He returned three years later to have the shunt replaced. Three months after that, he was told by a consultant they had lost a small tube during the second operation.

By early 2020, the beginning of the pandemic, Mugovera’s back and abdomen pain became so severe that he was no longer able to attend work.

‘Severe pain’

He said he made numerous attempts to make an appointment with the NHS but was unable to receive any help.

Mugovera eventually travelled to a hospital in Zimbabwe, near his birthplace, where he paid for an x-ray.

It showed the tubing was in close proximity to the vertebrae in his spine.

Mugovera said that the NHS surgeons had told him shortly after his operation that it was only a small tube and it would not affect him, but when he visited the hospital in Zimbabwe they were surprised at its size.

Mugovera has since returned to work but he said he has questions he wants to be answered, including whether the tubes can be removed.

“I have tried on numerous occasions to clarify details around why the tube was left behind but I have had no answer,” he said.

“I want to know how this is going to effect me in the future.”

The University College London Hospital said there have been ongoing attempts to engage with Mugovera.

In a statement it added: “We are sorry to hear Mr Mugovera is experiencing discomfort following his surgery.

“We have been in contact with him on a number of occasions and have offered a meeting with his neuro-surgical team.” – Source: Newzim