A cancer patient left traumatised and incontinent after a surgical accident says the Accident Compensation Corporation revictimises her and other claimants.
The New Plymouth mother of three has been fighting ACC for nearly six years after a planned hysterectomy to get rid of cervical cancer went horribly wrong.
“The surgical instrument they used malfunctioned, and it punctured a major artery leading me to start bleeding out on the table,” says 40-year-old Kelly Laursen.
The cancer is now gone, but she was left with urinary and faecal incontinence, as well as ongoing pain and post traumatic stress disorder.
Subsequently, she has been fighting ACC for help ever since.
“It's quite demoralising, I'm only 40, this is not an issue a 40-year-old woman should be having,” she says.
Last year she thought it was finally over. A court ruled in her favour and ACC paid out a lump sum. But a few weeks ago, a letter from ACC left her reeling. It had reviewed her case and was revoking cover.
“It's quite mindlblowing what they've done to be perfectly honest. Basically they've opened up an old wound,” she says.
ACC says it has every sympathy for Ms Laursen, she's received a total of $41,000 in that lump sum and it's paid for counselling.
But ACC says her incontinence is a symptom and not a physical injury and a link cannot be made between the incontinence and the treatment she has received.
Ms Laursen's lawyer says she's gone above and beyond to show otherwise.
“Kelly proved to us what the exact mechanism is against the forest of competing specialist opinion. No, I think ACC has got this wrong," says her lawyer, Hazel Armstrong.
In her experience Ms Laursen's case is anything but unusual and they both say it's a symptom of a much wider problem at ACC.
“There will be ongoing health problems for the rest of my life. They will have to reimburse me for something that was not my fault,” Ms Laursen says.