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Matthew Wright Robot Appeal
Matthew Wright.

August 16

Patient Story: “I am forever grateful for specialist robotic surgery treatment”

Matthew Wright, 38, from Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland

“Mr Kadirkamanathan and his team at Broomfield Hospital have given me back my life, so I can live as normal a life as possible. I am back at work, training at the gym and I am gaining weight slowly. I am feeling healthier and happier and that is down to the excellent work and attention I was given by Mr Kadirkamanathan and his team. I am so grateful to them; at a time when we just did not have any idea of what was wrong they were all so helpful and reassuring, if we had any questions they were patient and understanding. I am truly blessed to be under the care of Mr Kadirkamanathan, myself and my family are forever grateful to him for his specialist care!

“I was 36 when I first became ill, initially with an upper respiratory tract viral infection. I had just returned from a weekend away in London visiting some friends watching the Euro 2016 tournament. I was never sick, however this virus was particularly nasty and led to severe shortness of breath so my GP sent me to our local Emergency Department in Northern Ireland as he felt there was a possibility I was suffering from pneumonia. However, I was diagnosed with a viral infection and after several courses of steroids I began to feel a little better. That didn’t last long - as the respiratory symptoms were settling, the vomiting began after every meal.  It didn’t matter what I ate, it never stayed down more than a few minutes. A follow up with my GP led me to being referred to the local Acute Assessment Unit (AAU) where they diagnosed it as being a side effect of the virus that would eventually settle.  

“It never did settle and I began to lose weight as the vomiting continued after I ate anything. Various tests were carried out which found no obvious cause for the vomiting. After five and half months of constant vomiting I was admitted to my local hospital in Northern Ireland under the care of my gastroenterology consultant who wished to insert a syringe driver to administer anti-emetic drugs to try and stop the vomiting as I could not tolerate these drugs orally. The syringe driver made no difference at all as the vomiting continued as aggressively as ever. By this stage the weight loss had become so severe I was beginning to become malnourished and another GI consultant made the decision a few days after my admission to begin feeding me via NG tube as I was tolerating nothing orally with exception of a few sips of water. Each test that was carried out came back negative including a CT brain scan. 

“Finally after a multidisciplinary ward round one morning another GI consultant said he thought that I may have gastroparesis, which I had never heard of before. I was referred for gastric empty study which did reveal that I had a severe delay in my stomach emptying. By now I had been in hospital three weeks and I just wanted to go home to my family as it was Christmas Eve. I was discharged from hospital with the feeding tube removed and issued with high calorie drinks with a referral letter being sent to a specialist GI Consultant in Essex. 

“My wife and I travelled across to Essex in March to see Mr Sri Kadirkamanathan and his team for the first consultation. From the first moment we walked into the examining room we both felt at ease. Mr Kadirkamanathan and his team were amazing; they were very welcoming and reassuring. After asking about the history and the symptoms it was decided that I would be referred for another specialist test to rule out another condition and once this was done then I could be considered for gastric pacemaker insertion. The additional test was done at the Royal London Hospital in June 2017 and I was reviewed by Mr Kadirkamanathan in October with the results which ruled out this other condition and so it was decided then that I would be put on the list for gastric pacemaker insertion.  Mr Kadirkamanathan wanted me to gain some weight before I could undergo the surgery so it was back home to Northern Ireland to have another feeding tube inserted as I was still losing weight with the high calorie drinks. By this stage I had lost 36kg in weight going from 106kg to 70kg. People were asking my wife if I had cancer, it was extremely upsetting for her and our children. 

“Life was becoming increasingly difficult, as a family we couldn’t go out for meals or even invite friends over for dinner as I couldn’t eat. After a few problems with the feeding tube and another three weeks in hospital I finally got home and started to gain small amounts of weight. Another review with Mr Kadirkamanathan and his team in December led to the date finally being set for surgery. Mr Kadirkamanathan made it clear that there was no guarantee that the pacemaker would be successful but he was hopeful. My wife and I travelled over for surgery in January; we were both nervous but hopeful that this surgery would be the thing that would give me some sort of a normal life again. The surgery went well and for the first time in eighteen months I was able to eat a small amount of toast with tea and not vomit. Signs looked good at this early stage.  

“Mr Kadirkamanathan came and reviewed me in hospital after the surgery and increased the settings on the pacemaker slightly and I was back home in Northern Ireland two days after surgery with a view to a follow up appointment in six weeks. I recovered well from the surgery and as time went on was able to eat small amounts of food with no vomiting.”

‘Our Charity’ is calling on the community to rally together for our £1.5million appeal to fund the upgrading of the robotic surgery service at Broomfield Hospital, including a state-of-the-art new surgical robot and the continued use of surgical robotics.   

There is significant evidence that demonstrates a number of advantages for patients who have benefited from surgery with the surgical robot compared to conventional surgical techniques including: 

•Shorter hospital stays

•Immediate effects during recovery

•Precision surgery (overcoming limitations of laparoscopic surgery)

Your support will put Broomfield Hospital firmly on the map as surgical innovators in Essex.

You can donate to our appeal, ‘Rally Together for the Robot’, here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/midessexhospitals/surgicalbot