News

Mother's death followed routine bowel surgery

Ken Williams (centre) and his daughters (from left) Tammy Williams and Jodi McFarlane stand strong with a photo of their beloved wife and mother Karen.
Ken Williams (centre) and his daughters (from left) Tammy Williams and Jodi McFarlane stand strong with a photo of their beloved wife and mother Karen. Chris Ison

THE family of Karen Williams couldn't believe their eyes when the doctor performing surgery on her burst out of the operating room covered in blood.

"He came bolting out, still in his scrubs with Mum's blood all over him," daughter Jodi McFarlane said.

"I asked him 'what's going on' and he just threw his hands up in the air and said 'blood everywhere, I've never seen so much blood'."

On January 22, the 52-year-old Mount Morgan woman went in for a routine bowel surgery at the Rockhampton Hospital.

"She never came out," Jodi told The Morning Bulletin yesterday.

Jodi was compelled to share her mother's story after Gladstone's Emma Green spoke to media about her tragic ordeal with the hospital and the loss of her baby.

Karen Williams had a mastectomy last November after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Jodi, who was her mother's primary carer, said the family decided Karen would also undergo chemotherapy as a precaution.

During routine check-ups, a colonoscopy revealed Karen had a small primary cancer in her bowel, unrelated to her breast cancer.

Jodi said they were told to return on January 22 for an appointment with the surgeon who performed the colonoscopy.

"We didn't know what grade or stage the cancer was at," she said.

"We were told to come back when they had more results so we could work out a plan of attack."

But days later, Jodi said she received a call from the hospital asking her and her mother to come in and see Dr Wisam Alkidady, the doctor who had performed the mastectomy.

"We thought it must have been to do with the chemo," she said.

Jodi said Dr Alkidady told her he was going to perform the bowel surgery on the 22nd.

She said she informed him of their appointment with the other surgeon and questioned him about waiting for further results, but he insisted.

"He assured us everything would be fine," she said.

During the surgery, Jodi said they were told Karen had started bleeding, but that this sometimes happened with cancer patients.

Then, Jodi saw a sight she will never forget.

She said they were told a vein had been cut and could not be repaired as there was no vascular team in Rockhampton.

Hours later, Karen was flown to the Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital, but there was nothing they could do.

"We were told we had a very short time to say goodbye," she said.

"Then she passed away at 1.23am on January 23."

Jodi said they later found out the cancer was only grade one.

"Our options and our information were taken from us," she said.

"If she had been left alone to wait for the results we have no doubt she would still be here."

Jodi described her mother as a true "matriarch".

"Family meant everything to her," she said.

"We feel ripped off."

Jodi called for an investigation into the protocols of the hospital.

She described the whole ordeal as unprofessional.

"Somebody needs to give us answers," she said.

Topics:  editors picks health rockhampton hospital tragedy



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