Doctors remove 10cm of intestine

PHOTO: Doctors remove 10cm of intestine

SINGAPORE - Even after finding out that he had stage 1 prostate cancer, Mr Dou Guo Xing, 66, remained optimistic.

The retiree from China agreed to undergo robotic keyhole surgery - as strongly recommended by doctors - in the hope of removing all the cancer cells.

But less than five hours after emerging from the operating theatre, Mr Dou began sweating profusely and was in great pain.

His abdominal wound was also leaking green fluid.

His son, Mr Tony Dou, a 32-year-old materials manager, told The New Paper yesterday in Mandarin: "He was crying and screaming in pain. No one knew what was wrong."

The operation took place at Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Nov 2. Mr Dou found out that he had prostate cancer in October.

The younger Mr Dou said the doctors had told his family that the operation was a success. "The doctors told my father that he could drink water and go for walks," he said.

What they didn't know was that there were two 5mm holes in the older Mr Dou's small intestine.

Said his son: "On the morning of Nov 3, a surgeon went to see my dad and said that the pain was normal.

"He even told my dad that he had already prescribed him morphine, which was the strongest type of painkiller.

"But my dad continued to scream for doctors to help him."

His father was taken to have an X-ray done later that day but doctors could not find anything wrong.

On the family's insistence, a CT scan was then performed.



The results shocked them - Mr Dou had two holes in his small intestine. To fix the problem, doctors removed 10cm of his small intestine in an emergency operation.

Added his son: "The second operation took four hours and he now has a 20cm scar.

"Before the operation, he was optimistic and hopeful. He believed that the operation was a minor one and doctors had told us that he would have to be hospitalised for only three days."

But the three days turned into a 30-day stay in the hospital.

The younger Mr Dou said that his father became depressed after the second operation.

He added: "On the morning of Nov 5, he pulled out all the tubes and tried to push open a window in the hospital ward.

"When he realised that he couldn't, he went to the toilet for a while before walking out of the ward.

"That was when the nurses saw him and took him back to his bed."

He said that a psychologist from the hospital visited his father because he was agitated and moody.

"When I arrived at the hospital at 7am on Nov 5, my father was tied to the bed," he claimed.

"He was silent and there were tears streaming down his face. It was very painful to watch.

"He remained tied up for the day."

His father was discharged on Dec 3.

Mr Dou's wife, who works as a nurse at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, helps to change his father's wound dressing daily.

But the older Mr Dou's spirits have not picked up and he has lost 10kg.

Said the younger Mr Dou: "He used to be chatty and laughed a lot, but now he is quiet most of the time and spends his days pacing around the house."

He said the family is upset that the hospital has yet to get in touch with them since his father was discharged.

"I am considering engaging a lawyer and writing to the Ministry of Health about this matter," he added.

"My father came to live with me in Singapore three years ago and we decided to let him have the surgery done here because we trusted the medical technology," said the younger Mr Dou, who is a Singapore citizen.

The New Paper contacted TTSH yesterday, but the hospital did not reply by press time.

Lianhe Wanbao yesterday reported the hospital as saying that it understands and sympathises with Mr Dou's family and is working closely to provide them with the support they need.

This article was first published in The New Paper.