1 Jun, 2024 @ 16:00
3 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: British woman, 72, is ‘waiting to die’ from ‘football-sized hernias’ in Spain after hospital staff ‘ignored her symptoms for years’ and branded her a ‘bored expat who just wanted company’

A BRITISH expat ‘waiting to die’ from ‘football-sized hernias’ has accused a hospital in Spain of ignoring her symptoms for years.

Maria Coomber, 72, told the Olive Press staff at the hospital in Valencia had cruelly branded her a ‘hypochondriac’. 

She revealed how she was repeatedly turned away by Torrevieja Hospital, despite ‘screaming in agony’ from ‘intense stabbing’ pains in her stomach.

READ MORE: ‘Profound crisis’ at Hospital Costa del Sol: 75,000 patients remain on waiting list for surgery, tests and appointments

Maria is worried about leaving her son behind after medical negligence led to ‘inoperable’ hernias.
Photo: The Olive Press

After allegedly being ‘ignored’ by medical staff over a five-year period, she was finally diagnosed with inoperable hernias on her spine and abdomen.

The Kent-born woman explained that she has now been told they could ‘pop at any moment’ and kill her. 

She can now only be given painkillers to numb her ordeal and feels ‘sad and ‘emotional’, especially for her son, who ‘will not have a place to live’ after she dies. 

Incredibly, she claims one doctor accused her of being a ‘bored expat who had nothing better to do and wanted the company.’ 

It comes after the hospital’s level of care was said to be deteriorating by the local mayor in 2022.

We later reported how a woman won €450,000 when her arm had to be amputated due to a series of errors. 

Maria’s nightmare began some eight years ago, when she discovered her stomach had moved and had to be put back in the right place. 

She underwent major surgery in the UK before returning to Benijofar, Spain. 

She had moved to the Costa Blanca two decades ago after retiring from her role as a care home manager. 

Much to her dismay, just six months later her pain returned and she discovered her stomach had once again moved. 

After another surgery, this time in Torrevieja, she thought her nightmare was finally behind her. 

That was until she began experiencing new ‘excruciating’ pain six months later and was rushed to the hospital’s A&E. 

Despite initially getting what she describes as ‘very good’ care, her pains persisted and she returned multiple times for much-needed relief. 

After a few visits, emergency staff told her to ‘stop coming’ and to visit her GP instead. 

The GP totally disagreed however and urged her to go back to the hospital for urgent help, particularly as the stabbing pains came up to four times a week. 

“But after a while, the hospital started to dislike me and called me a hypochondriac,” she claims.

Maria states the doctor actually told other hospital staff to ‘ignore’ her pleas for help despite ‘screaming in pain’ on various occasions.

“I have never cried so much in my life. I felt so alone,” said Maria. “I don’t know how I survived.”

The hospital has been accused of many counts of medical negligence after it was taken back into public control a few years ago.
Photo: Google Reviews

Far from a ‘bored retiree’, Maria had a thriving social life, a loving son, many pets and plenty of housework to keep her busy. 

Nonetheless, she says staff at Torrevieja Hospital continued to dismiss her symptoms for FIVE years, leading to ‘horrible and nasty’ treatment including being ‘aggressively’ manhandled.

“I was called a ‘b**tard’ and left on the floor of an ambulance after falling off a bed,” she insisted.

It was only after a nasty fall last year that doctors finally agreed to do some more urgent tests.

It was then they found four hernias ‘bigger than footballs’ on the base of her spine and stomach.

A result of wounds from her earlier stomach operations, the hernias had been left to grow for almost five years and are now inoperable. 

“I’m dying, it’s just a matter of when,” she told the Olive Press. “All they can do is give me pain relief, the hernias could pop any minute and kill me.

“I just wish they had been nice to me and they had looked into it instead of calling me a hypochondriac. All it takes is a bit of kindness.” 

READ MORE: Hospitals WILL return to public management in two areas of Spain’s Costa Blanca and Valencia

This is the latest in a long list of scandals reported on by the Olive Press.

Just last year, a 65-year-old woman was awarded €450,000 after her arm was amputated following a ‘routine fracture dislocation operation’. 

After bleeding was left ‘untreated’ and developed into deep vein thrombosis leading to the amputation. Another expat who entered the hospital for a gallstone operation ended up with an amputated leg.

In a further horrifying incident Kathleen Marshall, who was displaying the early signs of dementia, was admitted into Torrevieja hospital for treatment for dehydration.

But when relatives went to visit the 73-year-old British resident they were shocked to find her restrained by handcuffs in a bed. Her son George claimed she died after suffering ‘weeks of criminal abuse and neglect’.

And in an earlier incident a young British woman died hours after being dismissed by doctors and told to go home after waiting 14 hours at the hospital for treatment. 

The hospital authorities have been approached for comment.

The patient sued Berkshire Hathaway, the hospital’s insurance company, and was ordered to pay compensation. 

Maria has not yet taken this course of action, insisting she is just trying to ‘enjoy life while she can’, spending as much as possible with her beloved son.

READ MORE: Public health campaigners claim major bed shortage at Torrevieja Hospital on Spain’s Costa Blanca

Yzabelle Bostyn

After spending much of her childhood in Andalucia and adulthood between Barcelona and Latin America, Yzabelle has settled in the Costa del Sol to put her NCTJ & Journalism Masters to good use. She is particularly interested in travel, vegan food and has been leading the Olive Press Nolotil campaign. Have a story? email [email protected]

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