Birmingham pensioner: 'I was unable to close my eyes for more than four years after surgery ruined my life'

Pete Broadhurst, who is from Birmingham, says surgery complications destroyed his life
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A pensioner who was unable to close his eyes for more than four years after surgery complications says the ordeal "destroyed" his life.

Pete Broadhurst, now 81, had a cosmetic operation to fix his "puffy cheeks" in January 2019. But he claims the surgeon removed too much tissue from under his eyes - leaving Pete unable to close them.

He then spent years dealing with the fallout - even using his pension to fix the issue. An operation in Thailand in July 2023 finally solved the problem for Pete, and he can now open his eyes.

But the retired painter and decorator, from Birmingham, said: "What happened totally destroyed my life. Instead of starting my life, I was obsessed with trying to get this right.

"It would knock me sick to look in a mirror. I tried to warn other people but I didn't know how. I have used my pension to make my eyes look right. I had to use foodbanks to save enough money to go and get surgery."

Pete's problem started in 1959, when a tooth problem led to him having enlarged cheeks. He said: "I had puffy hamster cheeks. Years ago I was in a relationship with a woman and she was leaving me.

"I said, 'why are you leaving when we've got everything? Look at how lucky we are.' And she said, 'go look in the mirror, that's why I'm leaving'."

Pete BroadhurstPete Broadhurst
Pete Broadhurst

After two further relationships where his insecurities about his looks grew, Pete decided he wanted to get corrective surgery. The dad-of-two decided late in 2018 to undergo another procedure.

He approached BMI The Priory Hospital in Birmingham - who quoted him £11,000 to undergo a neck lift, under eye blepharoplasty and a rhinoplasty that would help reduce his cheeks.

And, on January 24, 2019, he underwent the nine-hour procedure, and was discharged the next day.

Pete said: "I looked like I'd been beaten up. It was horrendous, and I couldn't close my eyes. The day after the surgery I wished I'd never gone."

Pete returned to the hospital two weeks after the surgery to get the stitches removed, and says he told the medics his eyes were very irritated and watering. But he claims that they told him all was normal and these side effects would pass by themselves. He then went to the Good Hope Hospital in Birmingham, on March 23, 2019 to have a routine prostate exam.

Pete was unable to close his eyes after surgeryPete was unable to close his eyes after surgery
Pete was unable to close his eyes after surgery

But the doctor noticed his damaged eyes - and he was referred to Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre. There he was told his eyes weren’t closing fully when he blinked or slept causing him irritation.

However, the doctors there couldn’t treat him as he had the original surgery privately, so he returned to the BMI. His surgeon arranged for a free corrective surgery elsewhere for a skin graft to help the skin in his cheeks meet his eyelids.

He then had the hour-long surgery on May 13, 2019 - but the problem still didn't go away. Pete says he was prescribed eye drops to take eight times a day, and was told to microwave a towel to wrap around his eyes for when he sleeps.

But his vision was so poor he couldn't drive a car or make out people's facial expressions and had to give up his hobby of shooting as he can't see the target.

Desperately unhappy, Pete decided on further surgery. But he says numerous private hospitals refused to operation on him and the NHS had a year-long waiting list.

Finally, in July 2023, Pete flew to the Origin Clinic in Thailand for surgery to correct his eyes which now means he can see better and sleep comfortably - costing him £4,544 (200,000 Baht).

Pete Broadhurst after surgery to smooth his puffy cheeks - which left him unable to close his eyesPete Broadhurst after surgery to smooth his puffy cheeks - which left him unable to close his eyes
Pete Broadhurst after surgery to smooth his puffy cheeks - which left him unable to close his eyes

Pete said: "I can close my eyes which I wasn't able to do so. When I am asleep I can close them which allows me to sleep comfortably.

"I can see clearly now, I don't wear glasses anymore. I used to see dark shades and everything was creamy but now I can see clearly. I don't think about my eyes anymore, I couldn't go out without wearing glasses to protect them but I don't need to do that anymore.

"I am normal again, I have no glasses on and I am looking out of my window and everything is clear." BMI Healthcare was asked to comment on Pete's ordeal.

A spokesman said: "We can’t comment on the detail of individual cases, but we are committed to the highest standards of patient safety and care quality and are investigating this matter thoroughly.

"The surgeon in question is currently suspended as we are mirroring an NHS trust suspension."

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