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‘Miracle’ recovery for Bradford lung op mum Lisa Brown
7:00am Wednesday 21st August 2013 in News
A mother-of-four who used her £54,000 life savings to pay for two lung operations after becoming a victim of the NHS postcode lottery has made a miraculous recovery.
Lisa Brown, 41, of Tong, was diagnosed with emphysema earlier this year, despite never drinking or smoking. She spent a week in intensive care at Bradford Royal Infirmary and was sent home with her left lung rated as damaged beyond repair and with little more than a quarter of the capacity in her right lung.
She said she was turned down for surgery by a consultant, who ruled it was too high risk.
But after she went private, a consultant who performed the surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London said he could have offered her the same treatment on the NHS.
That consultant has now also said that while the operation does not rule out emphysema completely, a biopsy confirmed Lisa has normal lung tissue.
Miss Brown, who is now looking to claim her cash back from the NHS, said she had been given a second chance at life.
“Now they don’t know what caused my problems, and the surgeon is still looking at it,” she said. “But there is no point me being on the transplant list because I don’t think it is emphysema. It is an unexplained illness, but now the air pockets have been burst my lungs are back to full capacity.
“I can breathe now, I can walk upstairs without writing notes for my children to do things for me, I can go back swimming.
“I have been given a second chance and the gift of life.
“I will never go back to the NHS, I have been let down.”
Miss Brown is seeking legal advice on how to get her £54,000 back which paid for the two operations.
“It is like a miracle has happened, from being so ill to coming back to life,” she said. “If I had not got a second opinion I wouldn’t be speaking to you now.”
It is the end of a long journey for Miss Brown who, refusing to accept the initial decision and an estimated three-year wait for a lung transplant, called the Royal Brompton Hospital where consultant Eric Lim agreed to operate to give her more lung capacity in her right lung.
Mr Lim said: “It is extremely pleasing to hear that Lisa is doing well following surgery at Royal Brompton Hospital. She was originally presumed to have a diagnosis of shortness of breath due to severe emphysema (a disease of lung tissue) and certainly the initial clinical and CT scan features supported this.
“When we operated we found that her lungs appeared normal, but were squashed by large air- filled sacs located mainly outside of the lungs. After successfully removing the abnormal air sacs her normal lung was able to re-expand fully in her chest. Whilst the operation does not rule out emphysema completely, a biopsy confirmed that Lisa has normal lung tissue.”
Miss Brown's MP Gerry Sutcliffe (Lab, Bradford South) has insisted Miss Brown should be compensated for the cost of her operation on the NHS.
Shadow Health Minister Andy Burnham has promised to look into the case. At the time of going to press NHS England was not available for comment.