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Posted on 18th January 2017

Paralympic athlete left in constant pain because of cancelled operations

A former solider and ex-Paralympic volleyball star is left in unbearable pain because the operation to amputate her leg has been cancelled twice.

Sam Bowen, 30, was paralysed below her high knee when 50 rockets rained down on her Army base camp in Iraq in 2006.

One of the rockets hit the wall of the room where Sam was asleep, and a piece of shrapnel sliced into her right leg and back. 

An artery in her leg was severed, and she almost bled to death. An emergency blood transfusion saved her life.

But the ex-Paralympic sitting volleyball star, has said that the operation her amputate her lower legs was postponed due to a lack of beds and once because staff were tied up with emergency surgery.

Despite the pain in her leg, she was able to represent Great Britain in the 2012 Paralympics, as part of the sitting volleyball squad.

She told WalesOnline : “This is not an everyday operation like having your tonsils out. This is something that’s completely life-changing for me. 

“The doses of morphine I’ve been on have been getting higher and higher and it’s left me unable to sleep and I struggle to eat.

“I cannot function properly anymore and some days I struggle to leave the house.

“I’m also looking after my seven-year-daughter, who I fostered. She has a lot of complex needs and she doesn’t leave my side. I have to keep her in a regular routine,” she said.

The first time her operation was cancelled she was already on her way to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. They told her that there wasn’t a bed for her.

The second time the hospital contacted her to tell her the rescheduled appointment had also being cancelled because the surgeon have been called into an emergency operation.

She is due to have the operation on Tuesday 24 January.

A spokeswoman from Cwm Taf University Health Board said: “Similar to other health boards in Wales, we have been under considerable pressure over recent weeks.

“Regrettably some elective operations needed to be cancelled but will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

“Our staff continue to work extremely hard and are committed to providing a high quality of care to our patients.”

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