Young mum's plea to doctors

SHE is just 21 years old, but today Victoria Barber is begging doctors for an operation that to many women of her age would be unthinkable.For 18 months she has been battling with unexplained bleeding, period pain and depression and is desperate for experts at Ipswich Hospital to give her a hysterectomy.

SHE is just 21 years old, but today Victoria Barber is begging doctors for an operation that to many women of her age would be unthinkable.

For 18 months she has been battling with unexplained bleeding, period pain and depression and is desperate for experts at Ipswich Hospital to give her a hysterectomy.

But the mother of two, who said she has had enough of failing treatments cannot get doctors to agree to the move, which she feels would end her nightmare.

Medical ethic experts said it would be rare for someone so young to have the operation but should be considered if it is in the patient's best interest.


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Ipswich Hospital said it must adhere to clinical guidelines although it does not have a “one size fits all approach” to care.

Mrs Barber, of Fuchsia Lane, Ipswich, said: “I've been putting up with it, trying everything the experts suggest, for a year and a half, but nothing is working.

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“Asking for a hysterectomy is not something I've rushed into. I've done my research and know now this is right for me.

“I've two lovely boys and am ready to say I don't want any more children.”

Mrs Barber lives with her husband Dean, 28, and two sons Taylor, four, and Warren, one.

After giving birth to Warren, she has experienced bleeding on a daily basis, suffers from period pain like cramps and has had to start taking anti-depressants.

She has tried various treatments, including tablets and having a coil inserted.

She said she also tried hormone injections designed to put her into menopause early, but they also failed.

She said: “At first I accepted what the experts said, as they are trained, but now I feel like I'm getting brushed off.

“I asked the hospital outright if I could have a hysterectomy but have been told to keep trying other things.

“They said if someone had a really sore hand and said they couldn't take the pain anymore, you wouldn't expect the hospital to chop the hand off, which I thought was a really bad example.

“It's affecting my physical relationship with my husband as I'm always so tired and angry.

“Everything's getting on top of me and I feel like I haven't got any fight left in me.”

Mr Barber said: “We are at our wits' end. We've been to clinics, the hospital, gynaecologists, our GP but nothing is working.

“She's suffering from anaemia and getting mood swings and as the hormones are making her break out in spots and get greasy hair. She's losing her self-esteem as isn't feeling like a woman.

“It's awful to watch what she's going through.”

N Do you think young women should be allowed a hysterectomy? Have you had the operation and regretted it? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

BEST practice guidelines from The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) do not usually allow hospital's to give hysterectomies to 21-year-olds, Ipswich Hospital said today.

However, the hospital said it would NOT rule it out if it was in the patient's interest.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman, said: “We are concerned that Mrs Barber is unhappy with her treatment and would urge her to contact us again to discuss it.

“In general terms, we treat every person as an individual and do not have a one size fits all approach to care.

“The NICE best practice guidelines suggest hysterectomies would not normally be allowed on someone who is 21.

“We take the guidelines on board in all our work to ensure we work to the highest professional standards.”

A 21-YEAR-OLD having a hysterectomy is almost unheard of according to an expert from the University of East Anglia.

Professor Sam Leinster is a practising surgeon and medical ethics spokesman for the university and he said Mrs Barber should see a psychologist before making a decision.

He said: “It's a very complicated situation. For a 21-year-old, the procedure is almost unheard of.

“The patient has the right to have the treatment providing they understand the implications.

“However, while it's clearly easy for those with no emotional involvement to weigh up the pros and cons, for the patient in the middle of it, it is less straight forward.

“As a surgeon, it's a judgement call you can't make without meeting the patient.

“I'm hesitant to do what essentially is a mutilation operation unless I'm absolutely sure it's right for the patient.

“I think I would ask the patient to see an independent psychologist to talk it through.”

Linda Parkinson-Hardman, from the Hysterectomy Association, added: “Problems have to be incredibly severe before a hysterectomy is considered for a woman in her teens or twenties.

“Most will be given a number of alternative treatments first to see if they work.

“I doubt very much whether many surgeons would take on a 21-year-old at all.

“The patient's best bet would be to approach someone privately after a referral by her GP and even then the likelihood is that they will try something to conserve her fertility first.”

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