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Swansea mother hanged herself after surgeon removed her ovaries

A mother killed herself after a doctor removed her ovaries without her knowing during an operation, an inquest heard.

Lucinda Methuen-Campbell, from the village of Three Crosses, near Swansea, went in for surgery on a bowel disorder – but came out without her ovaries.

An inquest heard the surgeon told her later that her ovaries were taken out ‘because they were in the way.’

Mrs Methuen-Campbell chose surgery at a private hospital performed by pioneering surgeon Tony Dixon in September 2016 after suffering years of pain.

She had a vaginal mesh inserted to help with the bowel disorder but it left her in agony.

Lucinda Methuen-Campbell, 58, killed herself after she was left in agony when she had a vaginal mesh inserted to help with a bowel disorder in September 2016

Pioneering surgeon Tony Dixon, pictured, removed Mrs Methuen-Campbell's ovaries during the surgery without telling her 'because they were in the way'

Pioneering surgeon Tony Dixon, pictured, removed Mrs Methuen-Campbell’s ovaries during the surgery without telling her ‘because they were in the way’

The 58-year-old was later found hanged in her attic telling her ex-partner: ‘There didn’t seem to be a way out of the pain.’ 

Mr Dixon has built up an international reputation for using mesh to fix bowel problems which are often linked to childbirth – but is currently suspended from two hospitals in Bristol.

He is under investigation by the NHS which has referred him to the General Medical Council over the mesh procedures.

Mrs Methuen-Campbell’s ex-partner Philip Chatfield, a sculptor, said: ‘The pain continued to get worse and nobody seemed able to solve the problem.

‘Mr Dixon performed the operation in 2016 with the mesh but it was unsuccessful and caused her to be in agony.

‘She had a follow-up operation which made things even worse.’

Mr Chatfield said that he had first met Mrs Methuen-Campbell when she was a English graduate and posed as a model for him.

The inquest heard their 19-year-old Angus called his father when he saw the attic ladder was down with the hatch open in January this year.

Mr Chatfield found his ex-partner hanged in the attic of her home.

Nearby was a message from Mrs Methuen-Campbell to her son saying: ‘I’m sorry Angus, I love you, best son ever.’

Mr Dixon performed the surgery at the Spire Hospital in Bristol, pictured. He has since been suspended from his role and is under investigation by the General Medical Council over the mesh procedures

Swansea assistant coroner Aled Gruffydd said: ‘The operation on Mrs Methuen-Campbell was unsuccessful and made her pain worse and it affected her mental health.’

Recording a suicide conclusion he said: ‘I’m satisfied without doubt that she intended to take her own life – the pain she was in led to her taking her own life.’ 

Student Angus said after the inquest: ‘She was in a great deal of pain after the operations and she was very upset that her ovaries had been removed.’

In an interview before she died, Mrs Methuen-Campbell said she had not consented to the removal before the operation in 2016.

She said she had lengthy consultations with Mr Dixon before the operation at The Spire Hospital in Bristol.

He told her her problems were complex involving surgery not just on her bowel but also her womb.

She said that the removal was never mentioned before the surgery, and if it had she would have been ‘vaguely prepared’.


Vaginal mesh implants are devices used by surgeons to treat pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence in women which are often caused by childbirth.

Usually made from synthetic polypropylene, a type of plastic, the implants are intended to repair damaged or weakened tissue in the vagina wall.

Other fabrics include polyester, human tissue and absorbable synthetic materials.

Some women report severe and constant abdominal and vaginal pain after the surgery.

In some, the pain is so severe they are unable to have sex.

Infections, bleeding and even organ erosion has also been reported.

She said: ‘He said he thought he’d done me a favour. And he said: “I thought you know, a woman of your age wouldn’t really need her ovaries.”

‘I said “Why did you remove them?” and he just said “They were in the way”.

‘My life is absolutely ruined but you know, I can’t say that it’s Mr Dixon’s ruined my life.’

Mr Dixon built up an international reputation for using mesh rectopexy to fix bowel problems, often caused by childbirth, but is currently suspended from performing this surgery at two hospitals in Bristol.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has stopped him from performing another form of corrective surgery, known as a Starr procedure (stapled transanal resection of the rectum), until November 2018.

The NHS has now also referred him to the GMC over mesh procedures.

North Bristol NHS Trust is investigating the consultant, who worked at Southmead Hospital and at the private Spire Hospital in Bristol.

Mr Dixon has previously said all operations can have problems but his are done in good faith and the majority are successful. 

For confidential support in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see for details.  


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