A 35-year-old Samba dancer in Brazil, Alessandra dos Santos Silva, had gone to the Hospital da Mulher Heloneida Studart in Rio de Janeiro in February for surgery to remove uterine fibroids. Ms. Silva was a passista at the Academicos do Grande Rio school and had been experiencing complications from the growths, leading doctors to recommend a total hysterectomy. However, the surgery took a catastrophic turn when she woke up to find that her left arm had been amputated.
Doctors at the hospital determined that Ms. Silva’s arm had become necrotic, making amputation the only option to save her life. After the procedure, she was discharged from the hospital but experienced severe complications with her stitches a few days later. Ms. Silva was forced to approach several hospitals before being admitted again.
The series of failures in her treatment prompted investigations by the Rio de Janeiro Health Department and the Civil Police. An inquiry will be held into what happened at the Heloneida Studart Women’s Hospital to determine who was responsible for the loss of Ms. Silva’s arm.
According to reports, Ms. Silva had been operated on in the morning and by the evening, doctors discovered a haemorrhage, leading to the decision to perform a total hysterectomy. However, her family members noticed that her hand and legs were cold and her fingers had darkened, indicating that her arm was in distress. They were told by doctors that she needed to be transferred to the State Institute of Cardiology Aloysio de Castro (Iecac) in Botafogo.
However, despite efforts by the doctors at Iecac to save her arm, they failed, and Ms. Silva’s family was informed that she would die without amputation. Her kidneys and liver were failing, and she was in critical condition.
Ms. Silva’s arm was amputated, and she remained in the hospital until February 15. When she returned a few weeks later, doctors were very concerned about the condition of her stitches, and she was readmitted to the hospital on March 4. She would stay there for a month before finally being healthy enough to be discharged.
The dancer, who had been engaged for 11 years, said she dreamed of having children. She is now unsure how she will be able to make a living, either dancing or working in beauty salons with one hand. Ms. Silva said, “I want those responsible to pay, for the hospital to take responsibility, because they managed to end my life. They destroyed my work, my career, my dream… everything.”
Ms. Silva’s family believes that she is alive today thanks to the tireless help of her friends, who fought to get her back into the hospital. The incident highlights the need for better communication and coordination among medical professionals to prevent such catastrophic events from happening in the future.