Mansfield woman who faces arm amputation needs your help for life-changing surgery
“I can’t begin to say the mental impact this has had upon me. The pain is indescribable and unbearable.”
These are the words of 29-year-old Clipstone woman Samantha Mellors, who is facing an anxious wait to find out if she will have to lose her right arm.
Two years ago Samantha was the victim of an accidental petrol burn, which led to a serious infection that she says was caused by a reaction to wound-healing cream Flaminal Forte.
The condition of her arm has continued to deteriorate to the point where her bone became “brittle”, and just three weeks ago she suffered a compound break following a fall – which has not started to heal.
Samantha has been in and out of Nottingham’s City Hospital handling the skin infection, where she had an initial operation on her arm, but says a refusal of surgeons to see her since then has meant amputation is “inevitable”.
She says she requested referrals for her increasingly-infected arm in June, but never had the chance to be seen – and feels that if she was handled earlier “an amputation would not be necessary”.
And now, following her broken arm, she says she was rushed from King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, before being discharged with “no explanation” and allowing her arm to get worse.
Describing what she feels is a “failure of the NHS”, Samantha is appealing for support as she prepares for life as an amputee.
“The initial burn came when I was filling the quad bike up for the kids but didn’t realise petrol had splashed on my sleeves, and I lit a cigarette and I set on fire”, she said.
“At the beginning the burns were manageable and only looked like a gravel rash, until they applied the Flaminal Forte cream – which they said nobody has ever reacted to.
“But I then found out from another nurse this wasn’t true, I had surgery at the beginning of the year which became infected and it’s gone on from there.”
‘MY ARM LITERALLY WASHED AWAY’
Samantha says she told doctors the Flaminal cream was “burning me”, but that doctors insisted she continued using it for three days. But after a day and a half her arm “literally washed away”.
Now, facing the risk of losing the arm altogether, she wants answers about why she was discharged and not supported with the infection.
“When I broke the arm I went to King’s Mill for a night then got transferred to QMC”, she said.
“They were going to operate and put a cage around my arm on a temporary basis, but the surgeon that messed me up from city was there to “consult” and I was discharged with no explanation.
“I was asking why am I being discharged but nobody could tell me why.
“It’s basically a failure of the NHS. If the surgeon had seen me in June when I told him it’s an emergency, an amputation wouldn’t be necessary. Even a doctor at QMC has told me we wouldn’t be here now.”
SAMANTHA’S CASE IS ‘COMPLEX’, SAYS HOSPITAL TRUST
Medical professionals at Nottingham University Hospitals, which oversees both City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre, said Samantha’s case is ‘incredibly complex’.
But they did say they were “disappointed” that she feels there have been “shortcomings” in her treatment.
Dr Skaria Alexander, Plastics, Reconstructive and Burns Surgeon at NUH, said: “I am disappointed to hear that Ms Mellors feels that there have been shortcomings in the care we gave her.
“She received a huge amount of time and care from the team both as an inpatient and outpatient.
“Cases like Ms Mellors are always incredibly complex, but I believe that the highly dedicated and experienced team here managed her case appropriately.”
A spokesperson for the Trust added: “Ms Mellors hasn’t raised these concerns with us directly and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss her concerns so would encourage her to contact us.”
SAMANTHA’S LIFE-CHANGING SOLUTION
Samantha has set up an online GoFundMe page to support her life after amputation, where she is preparing for home adaptions and a robotic prosthetic arm.
She has also researched and found a potential life-changing surgery, which could help her use her arm again.
The company behind it, ISIQU Orthopaedics, specialises in custom-made bone and joint implants for patients with tumours and major bone loss.
In most cases, the only alternative to the implants would be amputation of the affected limb – something Samantha wants to avoid altogether.
Dr. George Vicatos, director at ISIQU, explained how the firm’s work helps patients such as Samantha.
He said: “Our implants are machined exclusively from a medical grade titanium alloy. The material offers superb compatibility with the skeletal structure, not only because the body tissue accepts it, but also because of its elasticity and light weight.”
But to get this life-changing solution, as well as to prepare for life as an amputee, Samantha is aiming to raise £50,000 – and said it would “mean the world” for the public to support her.
“If anyone could help join me trying to make me dream become a reality it would mean the world to me”, she added.