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Susannah Hill

Patient representative

Susannah required abdominal wall reconstruction surgery after suffering major complications from prior surgery. She describes how the abdominal reconstruction not only brought physical benefits, but having her tummy look beautiful again, has helped reduce her post-traumatic stress triggers. She hopes that with continued surgical advances that this surgery will become an option for more patients.

Susannah believes, that with the evidence of variation in hernia surgical practice in the UK, along with recent technical advances, that abdominal wall surgery now needs to become a speciality in its own right. The function of the abdominal wall being largely underrated and under studied. With the complexity of recurrent hernia surgery, major reconstruction surgery, and the high reoccurrence rates of parastomal hernias, she feels that this highlights the requirement for specialist centres utilising surgeons who have undergone the appropriate specialist training. She is concerned that without these specialist centres or regulation, patients with ‘routine’ hernias, as well as more difficult cases, risk consenting to inappropriate surgery, or surgery with a surgeon with inadequate experience for their needs (both within the NHS and the private sector).

Susannah recently retrained to be a registered nurse, as she wanted to use her experiences of surviving major surgical complications in a constructive way. She speaks openly about how psychologically she found it difficult to come to terms with her experiences, and the emotional support that she feels would have benefited her psychological recovery. Her presentations have included, involving patients in serious incident reporting, and how to support patient’s emotional needs if major surgical complications occur.

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