Ostomy surgery: when gossips magnify problems…

Ostomy surgery: when gossips magnify problems…

Patient’s gossips about stoma…

This was in 1987. I remember it was an open ward. The male patients would gather to talk to each other. As doctors were trying to convince a patient to undergo an ostomy surgery, there might be ‘gossiping neighbors’ who would counteract the effort!

“Last week I met a patient who had cancer of the rectum. After operation, they put a bag on the tummy here. But it leaked and spilled all over! And the ‘stoma’ was so red, so big!”

We didn’t have trained specialized nurses in this field nor proper quality bags at that time. A few patients managed to get quality stoma bags and appliances imported from UK and US.

Today Malaysia has many trained enterostomaltherapists (ETs) and good quality ostomy bags in hospitals and pharmacies. The ETs would assist the colorectal surgeons to further explain about the conditions, surgery and the before and after operation care. They guide the patients on care for their stoma, its surrounding skin and how to use the stoma bags, etc.

I am not sure if patients still gossip like they used to! With proper pre and post operation care, these patients will be able to live a better quality life with a stoma.


Published by Chen S. P. @ TPTan

Serena Chen @TPTan, Master degree in nursing (Monash) . Serena teaches local and overseas nurses in a stomaltherapy program. She had presented papers internationally. Serena is a member of the ‘Golden Key International Society (Monash). She was an editor of a mental health bulletin and she enjoys pottery works, cartoons, painting and poems. She shares insightful experiences about being a carer for people with mental illness and cancer in this defining society.

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