Woman in ‘excruciating pain’ forced to wait years for operation says life is ‘hell’

Sally Ann Blackman from Cambridge has described her life as “hell” after she has been forced to wait years for surgery to end her “excruciating pain”

Sally Blackman from Cambridge who has been waiting almost three years for an operation

A woman who can’t go out without “excruciating pain” but has been forced to wait years for an operation due to Covid, says she is living in “hell”.

Sally Ann Blackman, 54, has been living with an incisional hernia since 2019 after needing a variety of operations on her abdomen.

After being diagnosed with cancer in March 2016, Sally from Cambridge, underwent chemo and radiotherapy including a number of operations which led to the development of the hernia.

But despite being diagnosed three years ago at Addenbrookes Hospital, Sally claims that doctors have postponed the operation to fix the hernia multiple times due to Covid, Cambridgeshire Live reports.

Sally said: “Life’s pretty tough at the moment.”

She added: “Saying life is tough is an understatement, it’s actually hell, my life”

Sally says she cannot walk for more than five minutes without excruciating pain



Now, due to the hernia and a mix of other health issues, Sally is registered disabled and unable to work.

The global Covid-19 pandemic saw millions of elective, non-emergency and lower priority surgical appointments canceled as the NHS battled to get the virus under control.

On two occasions, Sally claims she got as close as laying on the hospital bed about to be wheeled into theater for the procedure – until the surgeon returned and told her to go back home.

Sally said: “I recently went to Addenbrooke’s Hospital twice, last week (April 7) and the week before (March 29) to actually be appointed to have the operations done. Twice now, on top of everything else I was sent home.

“They turned around and said to me that it was due to Covid.

“I went through all the procedures, having my body marked out ready, I met the surgeon, had all my blood pressures and everything and then to come back, ‘I’m sorry, go home’.”

As a result of the hernia, Sally suffers from daily pain, swelling and bloating, adding that you can get vomiting and nausea.

Desperate to get it sorted, Sally has been told to self-isolate in case she receives a last-minute call asking to go in again in the event they have another cancellation, but because of this, she says “my whole life is on hold “.

Sally adds: “I can’t go out, I literally can’t do anything and it’s affecting me mentally. I’m just having a hell of a time.

“But I’m doing this (self-isolating) because I’m desperate for the operation. It’s really affecting me, it’s stopping me from having a life.”

Unable to walk for more than five minutes without agonizing pain, Sally’s partner is now her registered carer.

She said: “I’m stuck here, day in, day out and I don’t have any quality of life hardly. I don’t go out because I can’t walk without being in excruciating pain.”

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Addenbrookes Hospital claims that a rise in Covid positive patients can reduce the number of post-operative beds available for patients having planned surgery which can lead to operations being postponed.

A spokesperson for Addenbrookes said: “We would like to apologize to patients who are experiencing longer waiting times for surgery due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are working extremely hard to carry out as many operations as possible while keeping our patients and staff safe.”

Sally’s case has now been referred to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for a review of her incisional hernia operation.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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