A woman, who had metal clips inserted during a thyroidectomy against her wishes, has settled her claim for the failure to acknowledge medical instrument phobia.
In 2010, Sylvia Ramsay (66) underwent an operation on her thyroid at the Spire Roding private hospital in Essex. Prior to the surgery, Sylvia had told consultant surgeon Akinyede Ojo that she had a phobia about medical instruments and surgical items being left inside her body.
Sylvia told Dr Ojo that she had heard from an another consultant that it was possible to conduct a thyroidectomy without the use of metal clips, and requested that he avoided the use of clips and used dissolvable stitches instead.
Sylvia came around from the surgery believing that the consultant surgeon had carried out the procedure in line with her wishes. However, a year later she saw a specialist after complaining of breathing difficulties. The specialist took an X-ray of Sylvia´s throat that revealed the presence of twenty-five metal clips.
“I can only explain the feeling as similar to when you have a near miss in a car accident, that jolt of panic, followed by feeling out of control” Sylvia told her local paper. The clips were eventually removed by a private clinic in 2013, but only after her GP had refused to help and Sylvia had undergone a significant amount of therapy in an attempt to come to terms with her phobia.
After seeking legal advice, Sylvia made a claim for the failure to acknowledge medical instrument phobia against Dr Ojo and the Spire Roding hospital. Dr Ojo denied negligence and said that the situation had occurred due to a misunderstanding. However, following a lengthy period of negotiation, a settlement of Sylvia´s claim was agreed without an admission of liability.
“I know this is not a rational reaction but it is not something I can control,” Sylvia said after her claim for the failure to acknowledge medical instrument phobia had been settled. “It’s like putting an arachnophobe into a room full of spiders and telling them not to be so silly.”