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.



  1. It’s sad to read this, because I think it still happens, both with patients and staff. I remember after I first had my stoma, I had to see the nurse at my GP practice for a blood test. I mentioned to her I’d just had stoma surgery and she looked at me with what I can only call utter disgust. She looked horrified and muttered something about how horrible that was. It really dented my confidence massively when I was so new to it.

    When you think about it, stomas are incredible. When it comes to someone about to have stoma surgery, any and all comments can have an impact. I’ve had a lot of negative experiences with my stoma so I think it’s good to be honest about whatever you go through and to let patients be aware of the potential issues. I was never told anything so I went into it not knowing about any of the things I’ve struggled with since. That said, many people get on brilliantly compared to life before a stoma, with no problems at all, or at least very few. It’s better to be open about what could happen while being supportive. Gossip and horror stories, especially about the things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things when it comes to saving a life with a stoma (like how it looks) should be avoided. It doesn’t help at all.

    Great post. And thank you for linking to my stoma post too 🙂

    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

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