The independent London newspaper

Woman with bladder condition faces regular verbal abuse for her urine bag

Laura Piercey calls for better understanding of patients with trauma by hospitals

20 December, 2019 — By Tom Foot

Laura: ‘Why should I feel ashamed about something saving my life?’

A YOUNG woman who wears a urine bag strapped to her leg, due to a severe bladder condition, has told how she faces verbal abuse from the public.

Laura Piercey, from Queen’s Crescent, said she had been branded “disgusting” while on the London underground and had been made to feel ashamed to go outside.

The 25-year-old, who had to cut short her training to become an NHS nurse this summer, is regularly rushed to A&E and has become “terrified to drink” too much after “horrible” experiences of the bag splitting in public.

Launching an awareness campaign this week, she said: “I get people pointing, laughing, rolling their eyes. Brazen people come right up to my face to tell me. The first time I got on the tube with it I had a stranger approach me and say I was ‘disgusting’.”

Ms Piercey’s condition means she has to wear the bag in order to go to the toilet. “I have had accidents when it has split in public, which was horrible,” she said. “But why should I feel ashamed about something that is saving my life? It’s human, we pee – it is so natural – I shouldn’t have to change.”

Ms Piercey, who now posts images of her “supra-pubic catheter” on social media, said: “I have discovered that I am one of thousands of girls who may be afraid to come forward. I want to share my story. I want to create that conversation and connect with more like- minded individuals.”

She told how trauma she suffered as a child left her with lasting fears of needles and invasive medical procedures. She said it had delayed the process of understanding why her bladder has stopped functioning, and this has kept her recovery in limbo.

Ms Piercey said: “The hospital has made it out as if I am being obstructive, but they need to be better at dealing with patients who have suffered trauma. I feel like I have been victimised because of my history.”

Describing coping with the bladder problem, she said: “Imagine excruciating pain, your tummy just swells up. Your kidneys are creating urine but can’t release it.

“There are so many side-effects. My bladder spasms as it tries to push out the catheter. I get very tired – I need places to sit. I suffer chronic pain. I am terrified to drink.

“The amount of times I end up covered in my own wee because the bag has split and come detached from the tube. Imagine detached from the tube. I’m so scared of getting wet.”

Ms Piercey, who has a BTEC in health and social care, said she decided to go into nursing following the death of her grandfather, Reg, who was well known around Queen’s Crescent.

She added: “Nursing is 100 per cent in my blood. It sounds corny, but I was born to do it. I am in and out of hospital more times than I can count on my hand, but there are always people who are suffering more than I am. I just want to help vulnerable people.”

Ms Piercey has set up a GoFundMe page and hopes her story will help raise money for the charity Bladder Health UK.

For more information visit www.gofundme. com/f/lauracathy2020


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