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Mother seeking life-saving surgery

Sandi-Lee Field was told on Thursday that funding for her surgery had been declined. PHOTO/ALEYNA MARTINEZ

‘I don’t want to die’, woman says

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A 24-year-old mother of two is desperately trying to raise $30,000 for an operation that her family says will save her life.

On Thursday, the Accident Compensation Corporation declined to pay for her surgery because they found it to be unrelated to the injury they had agreed to cover.

The health crisis began when Sandi-Lee Field presented to Carterton Medical with an infection on her left ovary in August 2019.

She was given an antibiotic intramuscular injection which hit her sciatic nerve and caused a spinal cord injury.


She said the nerve damage created the inability to pass a stool “without having to pull it out” herself.

“The part of her colon that’s not working is the part that actually pushes everything out and that’s dead – the nerves are all dead,” her stepmother Rachel Fenwick, of Ngawi, said.

ACC had indicated to Field on Wednesday she would likely be declined for funding.

Fenwick became so desperate to find a solution for her stepdaughter on Thursday, she contacted Wairarapa’s National Party candidate Mike Butterick.

Butterick had been campaigning in Ngawi township last week, which was why Fenwick reached out to him.

“I told him I need a voice”, Fenwick said.

Butterick said: “Why can’t they do the surgery and then argue about who is going to pay for it later?”.

Offering the services he could, he went with the family to the Masterton ACC office to help get some answers to remedy the situation.

The ACC representative at the Masterton office delivered the bad news but said the family should now explore public health options through the Wairarapa District Health Board.

“Patients referred into the public health service are seen and assessed by a clinician and their eligibility for surgery is prioritised,” DHB chief executive Dale Oliff said.

They encouraged Field to see her GP and discuss her options.

If her case was classified as non-urgent, she would likely wait two to four months for surgery.

It was unclear how long she would need to wait if deemed “urgent”.

On Thursday, Field said her health had reached “breaking point”.

“I had to get all my rings cut off this morning. Everything is swelling.”

“Her organs are starting to shut down,” Fenwick said.

“She can’t urinate properly either.”

Field said she didn’t want to die.

“I feel like my kids have only really had half a mum since the accident and I just want to go back to being a full-time mum and take my kids shopping on my own.

“I won’t go out at night with my husband – he goes shopping on his own.

“I hide at home because I’m disgusted in myself because of what the medical centre did to me.

“I don’t even like looking at myself in the mirror anymore,” Field said.

A Givealittle page was set up for Field under the title ‘Help Sandi Get Her Life Back’ to help pay for her surgery and the ongoing costs for medical treatment not covered by ACC.

The Times-Age approached Tu Ora Compass Health, the public health organisation which oversees Wairarapa medical centres, for comment.

“I have no comment due to privacy laws,” chief executive Justine Thorpe said.

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