Emma Getvoldsen says she’s in a desperate situation over an unpaid bill at a US hospital (Photo: Emma Getvoldsen) Emma Getvoldsen hit the headlines a couple of years ago when she had both ovaries removed and doctors found one had managed to grow back – said to be the first such case recorded in Britain.
Now, the 40-year-old has discovered it has appeared yet again and she returned in January to the US hospital where she had it removed the first time round.
However, she’s also been told there was a ‘mix-up’ over her last bill and medics are denying her the surgery until she can pay £30,000.
She says she can’t afford this and it has left her trapped there as flying home could prove fatal – having been told her ovary could burst on a flight home.
Emma told i : “I’m in agony but I’m stuck because I’ve had drugs to enlarge my ovary before my op so it’s not safe for me to fly.
“I’ve been unable to work since 2016 because of my illness and £30,000 is a lot of money to magic up.” The 40-year-old has suffered with severe gynaecological problems since she was 12 (Photo: Emma Getvoldsen) ‘I used to faint with the pain’
Emma Getvoldsen Emma, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has suffered with severe gynaecological problems since she got her periods aged 12.
“My periods were always horrendous, I used to faint with the pain and the bleeding was so heavy. It was just fobbed off as being a normal part of being a young woman.”
She was diagnosed with endometriosis – affecting one in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK – which causes the lining of the uterus to grow outside the womb, attaching to other organs and causing severe pain.
The former recruitment consultant has also had cysts on her ovaries – which resulted in her first operation at 19.
Her health problems have seen her have 28 surgeries in total, including the removal of her ovaries in 2011 and two years later a hysterectomy – losing the womb and her second ovary – at the age of 34, robbing her of her chance to ever have children . Emma is left reliant on a lot of medication (Photo: Emma Getvoldsen) Rare case
But instead of sending her into menopause , three years later, doctors said her body was “full of oestrogen” and they found an ovary had appeared.
She was told she had ovarian remnant syndrome , where small pieces of ovarian tissue are inadvertently left in the pelvic cavity following ovary removal surgery. The remnant tissue can grow, form cysts or haemorrhage, producing pain.
“The doctors told me my chances of developing it were one in a million,” she said.
As doctors in the UK did not know how to treat the rare condition she raised £25,000 for surgery at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Then it was discovered she had a cancerous tumour was growing in her appendix.
Emma says during her ovary removal operation, the surgeon accidentally sliced through her ureter – a tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder – resulting in bladder reimplantation surgery.
Her internal organs were also fused together due to all of the scar tissue from her previous surgeries which also caused pain and complications.
Then after thinking the worst of her health problems were over, the ovary regrew.
“I knew, before I even had the scan, from the pain that it had grown back a second time,” she said. The former recruitment consultant has been forced to give up work (Photo: Emma Getvoldsen) The bill will go up
“I need the surgery so I can hopefully have a normal life without pain” Emma Getvoldsen In January, just four days before the scheduled surgery, the hospital said it could not go ahead.
Emma paid an “estimated” bill for the previous operation and a revised bill was sent to the wrong address so never reached her.
She was expecting to pay about £7,000 for the latest surgery – a 75 per cent discount for paying in advance – but the hospital said she owed £30,000 in total for the previous and new operations combined.
Emma is grateful she’s been able to stay with a relative about 45 minutes from Northside, but she is desperate for the treatment.
Meanwhile, she is missing her dad, who is recovering from cancer, her mum and her partner.
“I suffer extreme pain, and have to take morphine,” she explained. “And there’s the sickness, extreme fatigue and migraines. I need the surgery so I can hopefully have a normal life without pain.
“I’ve offered to pay $10,000 (£7,523) upfront so I can have my surgery, but it’s been refused. The worst thing is if I haven’t raised the £30,000 by the end of May, the discounted amount is cancelled and I have to pay the full outstanding amount which will be tens of thousands more.”
A Northside Hospital spokeswoman said: “Estimates are calculated based on historical averages for surgical procedures.
“As we cannot predict the care a patient will ultimately receive, the final bill could differ substantially from the original price estimate.”
To donate to Emma’s GoFundMe page, visit here .
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