Pensioner who couldn’t eat for two years thanks Northwick Park surgeon who gave her back joy of food

Northwick Park surgeon Alberto Martinez Isla enabled a pensioner to eat solid food again. Picture: L

Northwick Park surgeon Alberto Martinez Isla enabled a pensioner to eat solid food again. Picture: LNWUH NHS - Credit: Archant

A pensioner who was unable to eat solids for two years has thanked her Northwick Park surgeon for giving her back the ability to enjoy her favourite foods.

Diana Wassing says she is indebted to Alberto Martinez Isla - who is warning people always to seek a second opinion if they aren't happy with the treatment they are receiving.

The 71-year-old, who lives in Northwood, endured two failed procedures at different hospitals after her stomach pushed itself up into her chest in a condition known as a paraoesophageal hernia.

She was initially told to eat pureed food but weeks stretched into months and those stretched into years - making her gag and vomit every time she tried to eat solid food, even a slice of bread.

She said: "It was absolute hell and being told I just had to live with it. It was horrible.

"I'd wake up at night literally gasping for air. It was a real nightmare and I was only told retrospectively after the initial procedures that I might never eat solids again. No one warned me of that before."

A chance encounter with a woman who had suffered the same problem put her in touch with Mr Isla.

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Three months after her third procedure she tentatively ate a piece of chicken and is now working through a bucket list of food previously denied to her including burgers, pizza and Sunday roast.

"I couldn't believe it at first," she said. "It was such a relief to know I was on the mend.

"I love my food and to be denied that simple pleasure that everyone takes for granted was life changing.

"I was in despair until Alberto said he'd do his best to put things right."

Mr Isla, who specialises in upper intestinal tract surgery, said: "The two nets that were surgically placed to avoid the stomach moving out of place again had become badly twisted and were effectively choking this patient's oesophagus.

"It was a tricky procedure but her quality of life was badly affected and I wanted to do all I could.

"I'd always advise patients to seek a second opinion if they aren't happy.

"No one in discomfort or pain should simply accept one person's opinion. No one should be afraid to exercise that right."