A mother says she is still waiting for surgery 10 months after she was so tightly sewn up after childbirth that she cannot have sex or undergo a smear test.
Erica Abela experienced tearing after the birth of her first child in November last year, and had to have stitches.
But she claims her vagina was stitched too tightly and four months later was told she will need corrective surgery.
The 26-year-old says she has been left in pain and discomfort and is still waiting for the procedure after being told her surgery was “not urgent”.
She told Times of Malta that she fears her dreams of having a larger family are disappearing.
Abela said she first realised the extent of the problem a month after giving birth to a baby boy at Mater Dei Hospital.
She had visited her gynaecologist for her first smear test but the doctor could not complete the procedure.
“I felt excruciating pain and the gynae could not perform the test,” she said.
“She examined me and said I was completely closed.”
The young woman says the complication has placed a strain on her relationship and the stress is compounded by not having a date for the surgery, six months on from being referred in March.
“I am often in pain, and cannot be intimate with my partner.
She examined me and said I was completely closed
“Nobody called me for another visit or to give me a date for the surgery. When I asked when my turn would be, I was told my surgery was not urgent and had to wait, especially because of COVID restrictions,” she said.
Tired of the delay, and desperately wanting her life to return to normal, Abela has filed a complaint with the Malta Medical Council, who have supported her request for information from Mater Dei about the incident.
So far, she says, the hospital has not provided her medical records. She recalls feeling worried almost immediately after the procedure.
“I noticed the procedure took quite a while and afterwards I could feel that there were not merely a few stitches,” she said.
The situation is complicated further by the fact the young mother suffers from a rare congenital heart condition, known as Ebstein’s Anomaly, which makes surgery under general anaesthetic risky.
“My doctor has certified that I am fit enough to take the risk, but the risk remains there,” she said.
“There’s a chance I could die during surgery, but what other option do I have?”
Abela confessed that the future looks bleak to her.
“I would have liked to build a bigger family,” she said.
“I always wanted to have at least two children, so they would have each other to grow up with, but I surely cannot do that any time soon.”
Times of Malta has contacted the health ministry and the medical council for a response.
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