Mother has to cut open her eye after hospital error left it glued shut for four days
A mother-of-two whose eye was glued shut for four days after a hospital blunder said her Christmas preparations were only saved by cutting her own eyelashes off with a pair of scissors.
Natasha Galbraith (30) from Coleraine feared her eye would remain clamped tightly shut over the holidays, so she took matters into her own hands so that she could go out to buy Christmas presents.
She had been told by hospital staff to bathe her eye and that it should open after a number of days, but as nothing appeared to be happening, she grabbed a pair of nail scissors and snipped off her own eyelashes.
Health chiefs have said they are sorry for the "pain and discomfort" caused to Natasha.
Her ordeal started when she suffered an accident when a sit-up exercise machine broke last week and hit her on the face.
She went to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine but when a nurse was applying a paper stitch to a wound above her right eyebrow, medical glue trickled into her eye - sealing it closed.
Natasha returned to the hospital the next day and was told by staff they were sorry and that all she could do was bathe her eye and the glue would dissolve within five days.
The mum-of-two remained house-bound, too embarrassed to go out, but by Monday her eye was still closed tight.
Natasha revealed: "I had to force it open, I had to use a pair of scissors to cut off my eyelashes. I have only got half of the eyelashes on the top and no eyelashes at the bottom. I can see okay now but it was bit blurry at the start.
"It was stuck for four days. It was just very stressful not even knowing if it was going to open. I didn't even know what my sight was like under it but they just kept saying in the hospital 'your sight is going to be okay'."
She said her two daughters, aged 10 and 13 years, were "distraught".
"My oldest girl was asking: 'how is she going to see?' and it was me who had to explain to her that I couldn't but thankfully it has opened again," she said.
"This is my first day out of the house today. I had to go out because of Christmas. I was thinking I wouldn't be able to get Christmas presents."
A spokesperson for the Northern Health Trust said: "The Trust acknowledges that the care Ms Galbraith received was not of the standard we would expect and would again apologise to her for the pain and discomfort experienced.
"The Trust would encourage Ms Galbraith to contact the Service User Feedback Team with her concerns. Complaints are taken very seriously in the Trust and are seen as a significant source of learning, providing an opportunity to improve outcomes for services users, the quality of services and service user experience."