Maria Prasens

Maria Prasens, a 50-year-old marketing and innovation consultant living in London, credits an expert team at the Lindo Wing for saving her life after a freak water-skiing accident left her with a near-fatal infection.

general surgery patient maria prasens portrait

“I suffered a rare water-skiing accident while on holiday near Ibiza in August 2018 and I might not be here today if it wasn’t for the expert care of a team of consultants at the Lindo Wing.

I was in a sitting position on my water-skis when suddenly a flood of water hit me like a high-pressure douche or shower. I’d suffered something called a water ski ‘douche’ which causes internal injuries and blood loss and can be fatal without medical attention.

The incident caused cuts to my pelvic area internally, heavy bleeding and I was in a lot of pain. I had stitches at the nearest hospital to stop the bleeding and when I returned to London I saw a gynaecologist who performed a scan and blood tests.

The next morning, I was gravely ill with a high fever, excruciating pelvic pain and I was the colour of a ghost. What no-one had realised was that I was still bleeding internally, possibly made worse because I was on blood thinning drugs for a minor stroke I’d had a few years earlier, and I had developed a life-threatening infection.

I was referred to the Lindo Wing and when I arrived that morning I was in terrible shape. I was at risk of a cardiac arrest, when your heart stops working, I had a very high fever and had lost almost 60 per cent of my blood.

“Without them, I might not be alive today”

I feel extremely lucky that I went to the Lindo Wing straight away. I was immediately looked after by an expert multi-disciplinary team who were able to stabilise me, and I felt that I was in safe hands.

I was under the care of a team of consultants, each one a specialist in their field: Mr Sanjay Purkayastha, a general, laparoscopic and trauma surgeon, Dr Tom Setchell, a gynaecologist, and Dr Iqbal Malik, a cardiologist, supported by experienced bacteriologists who quickly identified the type of bacteria attacking my body so I was given the right antibiotics.

The team attacked the infection with antibiotics and gave me blood transfusions, and regularly checked my heart. On the first day, I don’t think I was left alone for more than 10 minutes as I had so many doctors and nurses coming into my room to deliver treatment or check my condition.

Mr Purkayastha told me that I was extremely lucky to have arrived that morning. Another few hours and the infection might have caused organ failure which would have been fatal.

I stayed at the Lindo Wing for a week where I had various procedures to help me recover including laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery to remove as much of the infected blood as possible and a drain was inserted into my pelvic area to remove any remaining infected blood. This is a small thin tube which was inserted during keyhole surgery and connected to a bottle outside my body where the infected blood collected.

Two weeks after my discharge, I had to return to The Lindo Wing due to another infection. The doctors inserted another drain to remove the infected blood once more and I was allowed home after a few days.

I was very thoroughly looked after by the team. I had weekly check-ups with the consultants, checking my heart and pelvic organs to make sure I was returning to good health, and I was finally given the all-clear in November 2018.

After such a frightening illness, I am extremely grateful to everyone who looked after me at the Lindo Wing; the surgeons, doctors and nurses were all amazing. They treated me so well and you can tell they care. Without them, I might not be alive today.”