Meet Carol Stott – the 5,000th patient to have undergone robotic-assisted surgery at LTHT
19 October 2023
Carol Stott is 72, from South Leeds, and has lived in Leeds all her life. She is married with two children and three grandchildren.
Carol went to see her GP on 4 July when she found some unusual symptoms. She was immediately referred to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, where she received an appointment within two weeks, where she was sent for a test.
Sadly, the results from Carol’s test showed that she had cancer of her womb.
“When I found out I was shocked and upset,” said Carol. However, an MRI scan showed that the cancer had been caught early, meaning there was a much greater chance of removing it.
Carol’s consultant talked to her about her options along with a cancer nurse specialist. “It looked likely I would need a hysterectomy to remove the cancer,” said Carol.
In 2010, Carol was rushed to hospital because an abscess in her bowel had burst. After a lengthy but successful operation she had to wear a colostomy bag for eleven months. It was an experience Carol did not want to repeat – any surgical intervention for her cancer could affect her bowel function. With the risks clear, Carol went away to think about what she wanted to do next.
Carol said: “I had to think about it carefully, as I was worried I may have to wear a colostomy bag again if my bowel was affected during the surgery. But I knew, because we had caught the cancer early, now was the best chance we had of removing it.”
Carol’s consultant talked to her about robotic-assisted surgery, which uses precision keyhole surgical techniques to minimise the impact on the body. The hysterectomy procedure has been available to be used by robotic-assisted surgery at LTHT since 2019.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I was told about robotic-assisted surgery,” said Carol. “My husband and I looked it up on the Internet, as we’d not heard about it before. It seemed marvellous, and when it was explained it to me, I was really put at ease.”
Carol decided to go ahead with the hysterectomy. Because of her history with her bowel, two consultants from different specialties brought together a big team to ensure the procedure could go ahead without complication.
Carol was admitted on a Friday, had completed the procedure by that evening, and on the Sunday, was back home. “It was a big team who looked after me – they were all really delighted by the outcome. I remember lying in bed after the procedure feeling elated and so thankful.”
Carol only needed painkillers following the operation. “It felt like a period pain, to begin with, and then wore off. I wanted to make sure I could visit the toilet fine and that everything was working – it was, with no discomfort.”
Robotic-assisted procedures mean faster recovery times for patients like Carol, so they can get home and back to their lives sooner. “When I had my bowel operation in 2010 under conventional surgery I was in hospital for eight days and it took a lot longer to recover.”
Carol’s friends and family are delighted with her fast recovery following the hysterectomy. “Everyone was amazed with how well I looked so quickly after the operation,” said Carol. “My friends visited the following week and couldn’t believe it.”
She added: “The treatment and attention I have received from beginning to end has been exceptional. I’ve been looked after so well.”