A plumber from Hillingdon who felt he was "better off dead" after a botched surgery has finally found relief.
For six years, Ricky O'Connor suffered discomfort after a procedure to correct gastro oesophageal reflux disease went wrong.
He was told repeatedly that nothing could be done after his stomach pushed up into his chest and tore through his diaphragm as he reached for something at work after the operation, known as a fundoplication.
Since the incident he has been struggling with his breathing, with a permanently dry throat and suffering from blackouts.
His original condition meant that a faulty valve at the top of his stomach allowed stomach acid to travel up his oesophagus, causing heartburn as well as other problems.
The 55-year-old had been battling his symptoms for six years without any hope for a way to recover from the botched operation to the extent that he said he would be "better off dead".
The Granville Road resident said: “The procedure didn’t work and I spend the next few years being told nothing more could be done.
"I just accepted the original consultant’s word. I mean you would, wouldn’t you?
"It got to a point where I really thought I would be better off dead."
The self-employed plumber had been searching for a second opinion when he came across general surgeon Alberto Isla-Martinez.
The consultant agreed to take on Ricky as a private patient at Northwick Park Hospital to carry out a procedure known as a redo-fundoplication. The three-hour surgery begins with putting the various bits of Ricky's internal anatomy back in place.
The upper part of the stomach is then wrapped around the oesophagus, in order to strengthen the muscular sphincter at the top which controlled the faulty valve, fixing Ricky's original condition for which he underwent surgery in the first place.
Speaking after the operation, Ricky said: “I can’t thank Alberto enough regardless of the fact that I had to privately pay for the procedure. I call him Mr Magic because he gave me my life back."
Although Ricky's case was extreme, Alberto believes that gastro oesophageal reflux disease is actually quite common, with around a third of the population suffering from. Usually only those with more extreme cases need to have surgery.
“Mr O’Connor has clearly suffering and endured considerable discomfort over a period of years," said the surgeon.
"My advice to anyone not happy with a medical diagnosis is to always get a second opinion.
“It’s your health at the end of the day and you should never feel awkward or embarrassed by going elsewhere. I’m just glad I could help.”