A former hairdresser who almost died after she went into a latex induced anaphylactic shock in hospital has received compensation after help from Thompsons Solicitors.

The 38-year-old from Mid Glamorgan, was left fighting for her life after she was admitted to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital for a routine sterilisation operation in June 2006.

A nurse attempted to treat her while wearing latex gloves, even though the hospital was aware that she suffered a latex allergy.

The nurse removed the gloves as soon as she was told about the her allergy. But minutes later she went into anaphylactic shock and ended up in intensive care for two weeks.

Left with lasting health problems

She has described her life as totally unrecognisable since the incident. Formerly fit and healthy and without any type of breathing difficulties, she now suffers from brittle asthma - a severe form of the condition - which has seen her in and out of intensive care for long periods of time over the last five years.

She suffers from Fibromyalgia, a condition caused by her body going into shock. It causes extreme pain across the whole body. She also suffers from Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome.

Her combined conditions mean she can no longer work and finds it difficult to play with and look after her two young children.

She must also avoid latex and her asthma attacks can be triggered by almost anything.

She said: “My life has been destroyed by this. I can’t work, when I am ill I can’t play with my children or even take them to school. Socialising is impossible and I even find climbing the stairs agony. I always thought my allergy was mild and found it difficult to accept my condition and the fact I now suffer a life threatening allergy.”

Hospital was aware of latex allergy

The hospital was aware of her latex allergy, first diagnosed after a patch test undertaken when she was 20 in an attempt to resolve dermatitis in her hands. She was put in a private room after the successful operation in order to avoid latex contamination and was given a red wrist band which highlighted her allergy. But no warning sign was placed above her bed and boxes of latex gloves were kept in her room.

Before she was discharged a nurse attended to her. She pointed out that she had a latex allergy when she saw the nurse was wearing latex gloves. The nurse left the room and returned with latex-free gloves and proceeded to treat her.

Thirty minutes later she collapsed in a hospital lift while she was returning from calling her husband. She had gone into anaphylactic shock and was rushed into theatre.

She said: “I was terrified. My throat was closing up and I was choking. I had no idea what was happening. Afterwards I was a psychological mess. I could not come to terms with what had happened to me. “

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the incident she instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation. She said she was determined that the hospital would learn from its mistakes.

Thompsons argued that she was unnecessarily exposed to latex and that the hospital should have had stricter procedures in place.

Cym Taf NHS Trust (formerly Pontypridd & Rhondda NHS Trust) denied she was exposed to latex in the hospital but settled the claim out of court.

Life threatening allergy, severe asthma and Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome

Anthony Welsh from Thompsons Solicitors Cardiff office said: “Our client’s life has been turned upside down by this incident caused through no fault of her own. As far as she was concerned she had informed the hospital of her allergy and she trusted that she was being treated accordingly. Instead she ended up in intensive care and now must cope with living with a life threatening allergy, severe asthma and Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome.

“The side effects of her conditions means she can’t work, play with her children or enjoy a social life. She has had a terrible experience which has left her permanently disabled and we are only glad we have been able to help her gain some sense of justice. We hope the Trust has revised it’s procedures for controlling the use of latex around patients with allergies to ensure this never happens again.”

She said: “Claiming compensation was never about the money. I needed to know that the hospital was taking latex allergy seriously and that it wouldn’t happen to me or to anyone else again. It’s a great relief that my claim has now been settled and I hope now I can try to move on with my life.”