Woman hits out after NHS mistakes stomach disorder

Isla Evans suffers from a rare stomach disorder. Picture: Hemedia
Isla Evans suffers from a rare stomach disorder. Picture: Hemedia
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A MOTHER misdiagnosed with anorexia has hit out at the health service after she discovered 20 years later she in fact ­suffers from a rare life-threatening stomach disorder.

Isla Evans, 31, first complained of stomach pains when she was ten years old but repeated visits to her local doctor failed to find the true cause.

“It’s horrible to be told for so long that I had anorexia”

Isla Evans

She was diagnosed with anorexia, a mental condition where a person deliberately tries to lose as much weight as possible.

But after 20 years of suffering physical stomach pains she was diagnosed with superior mescentric artery syndrome (SMAS) in December last year.

The condition is potentially life-threatening as it causes the small intestine, called the duodenum, to be compressed by an overlying artery which stops food from passing through.

Ms Evans claims she was told that the condition is so rare that there are no doctors in the UK who can operate on her.

The mother-of two, from Elgin, said: “I was only diagnosed with SMAS in December last year but I’ve suffered with it since I was ten years old.

“It’s horrible to be told for so long that I had anorexia. It wasn’t nice at all and I believed that I must have been going mad.

“Last year I changed my GP and was sent for a gastroscopy, a barium meal, and an endoscopy, which showed that my duo­denum had a large pouch called a diverticulum that was gathering the food I was eating.”

She added: “They cannot operate without risking me dying.”

Ms Evans is cared for full-time by her husband Sean, 34, and has never been able to go on a family holiday because of the amount of pain she endures.

And despite repeated visits to her former GP at Linkwood medical surgery in Elgin she claims they were unable to correctly diagnose her symptoms.

She said: “Every time I went to the doctors I was told that it was nothing and it was just a tummy ache, they never found anything.

“When I was 14 the stress from my school exams made it more noticeable, but every time I visited the doctor they just said it was growing pains or anxiety.

“At one point they gave me beta blockers, but they didn’t do anything and I had to keep going back, but when I did they would just give me something new.”

Last year she changed her GP in a bid to finally learn what was causing her so much pain.

She said: “I was only diagnosed after I changed my GP and they decided that I should get checked by a psychiatrist.

“The psychiatrist said that it was a GP issue and not a mental condition, so my GP right away put me on to a gastroenterologist at the Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin where they put me in for different tests.

“The tests found out exactly what I had waited 20 years to learn about myself, but there’s little they can do to help me.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said: “NHS Grampian’s Feedback service, which handles complaints, compliments and comments about NHS Grampian services, has not received a complaint from Isla Evans.

“If a patient has concerns about their GP service, they should contact that GP service in the first instance. Independent GP services handle complaints directly.

“If a patient wishes to ask about their diagnosis or treatment, for example, they should contact their medical team or consultant.”

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