A hospital patient says she has been left unable to smile after she came round from a hysterectomy operation – to find surgeons had also removed her TEETH.
Furious Clare Jones, 47, was shocked to find she had a gaping hole in her mouth and bleeding gums after undergoing routine keyhole surgery on July 15.
The mum-of-two signed a declaration confirming she had one denture, which was taken out before she went under the knife at Royal Stoke University Hospital.
But she was left stunned when she came around and realised she another two front teeth had been removed while she was in theatre.
Medics at the hospital could not explain what had happened and she has now been told an investigation to uncover the truth could take two months.
Clare, who lives partner Nigel Morris, 47, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs., has now launched a formal complaint.
She says: “I signed a form saying I have a denture after being asked three times by a nurse.
“She saw me take it out and she placed it into a dish and put it into my bag for me as I was moving wards after the operation.
“But nothing was said about removing any other teeth.
“And nobody seems to have any recollection of the teeth being taken out, it’s just unbelievable.
“I woke up from an operation with two teeth missing, and I cannot believe that I still have not been able to get a straight answer from the hospital.
“They obviously had to remove them to put something in to help with my breathing during the operation.
“But they haven’t told me that. If they had admitted it and apologised and said they will replace the teeth then I wouldn’t be so angry.
“Now I have been left without any confidence and I won’t smile at anyone because I have a huge hole in my mouth.”
“I can’t afford to have that much work done at the dentist and that sort of thing terrifies me so I am not looking forward to having it all sorted.”
Her partner Nigel, a security guard, added: “Nobody knows why this has happened and this has left Clare feeling really self-conscious.
“She is still recovering from the hysterectomy but that all went fine, but this is not helping her recovery.
“The worst thing is that there has been no explanation to why the teeth are missing.”
Clare, a care home nurse, has now been left with three gaps in her mouth, as the teeth were used to support a bracket which held her denture in place.
Alarm bells began ringing after her hysterectomy when her mother spotted blood in the corner of her mouth as she came out of the operating theatre.
Clare alerted medics when she tried to put her denture back in her mouth and realised two more teeth were missing.
Her sister Tina Holdcroft, 50, has also approached the hospital’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), demanding to know what happened.
She said: “This has just been terrible. The operation was supposed to be good news for Clare.
“She has had a lot of problems with her health in recent years, and this just overshadows the surgery she had to improve her health.
“I know that mistakes can happen and I accept that, but if you make a mistake you deal with it.”
“That is all I wanted the hospital to do, sort the problem out. I cannot understand how nobody can know what has happened to two of her teeth.
“It is appalling after care.
“It’s such a shame because Clare looks the healthiest she has for years after the operation, but she has been left embarrassed by this situation which leaves her in limbo with two missing teeth and a useless denture.”
Clare has now been told a hospital investigation could take almost two months and NHS staff have given the case a deadline of September 24.
Liz Rix, Chief Nurse at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, said: “The Trust is aware of the concerns raised by Clare Jones and her family.
“We have set procedures in place to investigate all concerns raised by patients and we will be responding to the family in due course.”