Bam! There it is in black and white: the 2nd time my life changed for ever.

As you know if you have been following my story, I have argued all along that the amputation could have been avoided, that I knew what was wrong right from the beginning but no one listened to me. Well I finally have a decision from the medical investigation into the treatment I received in the months before my left leg was amputated below the knee. I have posted this in 3 formats, audio, video and written. Choose the one that works best for you.

Listen to this blog as a podcast

Watch this as a Vlog

How would you feel if you had to have a body part amputated?

I want you to consider this for a moment.. Really think about how this life altering major surgery might affect you both physically and psychologically and really feel the fear and uncertainty that might be associated with this.

How would you feel if you KNEW what could have prevented it from happening but no-one listened to you?

Think a moment, really feel the anger, frustration and sadness that might be associated with this knowledge.

How would you feel if, 6 – 12 months later you finally had it confirmed to you that you were right all along, it could have been prevented, and you were told who exactly was to blame?

This is what happened to me on Friday.

What do you say to yourself? I ‘won’ the case against the DHB? But ‘won’ doesn’t seem to be the right word. Congratulations? Commiserations? What’s the right words to use?

This news unleashed a barrage of emotions that I thought I had gotten rid of as I forged my new path through life accepting and making the most of my new acquired disability.

Someone was to blame.

It almost feels like that someone, that consultant surgeon came along and chopped that leg off themselves. Do they have any idea how much psychological damage they have done? My life will never EVER be the same again, and it’s their fault. All their fault. But I will never get the chance to face them and tell them this. No, they won’t ‘pay’ for their mistake, because that’s how the law works in NZ. You can’t sue any medical professionals.. So ACC covers their asses basically and they carry on doing what they were doing.

It feels like no one cares a jot that my leg was actually amputated when it could have been avoided if someone had just listened to what I was saying.

It feels like it doesn’t matter at all if you spend your whole life taking care of yourself and doing the right things, because some toss pot doctor can come along and axe off one of your limbs, just like that. Who cares?

Every morning that I wake up, and have to physically put the leg on, every time I go for a swim and have to leave that leg on poolside, every time I have a shower and have to sit down because I only have one foot, I will remember. They were to blame, they did this to me.

Not only did they take away my independence, integrity and ability, they also took my dreams. I will never ever be able to race as an age group triathlete because I’m now disabled. I will always be classed as disabled. And always have to deal with society’s judgements and arguments and limitations.

I constantly have to think about disability access. Because now I’m disabled. And the world is not ready for disabled. You think it is? Well it isn’t. Nothing spontaneous will ever be able to happen again because I always have to think of my removable body part. Is this my fault? No. But I’m the one that has to live with it while their lives trot merrily on with both arms and both legs still intact.

No sue laws mean no compensation either. But I don’t care for the cash, or the sorries (which would be fake anyway) or any of that. I would much prefer to have the damn leg still attached. But I don’t have any choice about that. Because no one listened.

This is their fault. All their fault.

Special Acknowledgements

I would like to give a special mention to two people in my medical journey who have been my heroes and advocates.

My GP: Dr Fowler

From the moment he took over as my GP mid way though this horrific saga, he spotted the vascular alarm bells immediately (and was first to do so), sent me to the correct department with urgency and has backed my case with his full support ever since. In fact, he is the one who lodged the complaint ref Medical misadventure with ACC on my behalf, he was so angry.

Vascular surgeon Dr Sarah Lesche (and Vascular registrar Rossi Holloway)

From the moment I arrived in Sarah’s department, she did ABSOLUTELY everything that she could to try and save my left leg. She was my my bedside sharing my tears each time the surgeries failed, and on that fateful day when we knew that amputation was the only option left, we cried together too, knowing fully that we had tried EVERYTHING we could from the moment I was sent to them by Dr Fowler.