The latest annual National Emergency Laparotomy Audit shows St George’s has one of the best success rates in the country for a major, potentially life-saving operation that involves opening the abdomen in an emergency.

The survival rates for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy surgery at the Trust are much improved, and now among the top 10% nationally.

An emergency laparotomy is a major operation that involves opening the abdomen, which allows a surgeon to view the organs inside, and repair any emergency problems that might have occurred.

Patient Gillian Riley (pictured) underwent emergency laparotomy surgery at St George’s in December 2019 after the pain in her abdomen had become ‘excruciating’. Before the surgery, she was warned that there was a high chance of death or a major complication.

Gillian, who was cared for by staff on our general intensive care unit, and Vernon ward, said: “The pain got so bad that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’ve had lots of health problems – including cancer – so it was such a relief to get the problem sorted, and to be able to go home less than a week after surgery.”

Ms Cleo Kenington, Consultant in Emergency General Surgery, who carried out the procedure, said: “Gillian’s case illustrates why early intervention in cases such as hers – from consultant surgeons and consultant anaesthetists, with the support of the intensive care team – is so important. It’s great to hear that our outcomes are now among the best nationally – and gives us a great platform to improve things even further.”

To find out more about the National Emergency Laparotomy Audit, go to