WHEN hospital patients go in for operations, they put their trust in the surgeons treating them in the hope they will come round safe and well.
In almost all cases procedures go to plan – but Stan Padley’s life was changed forever when a routine hip operation went badly wrong.
Stan, aged 53, was once an IT expert whose job took him far and wide across the world, including working for the RAF, but he was left wheelchair bound and unable to speak or move following the disastrous operation.
Doctors said he would never return home – but Stan’s ‘sheer determination’ has seen him move back in with his devoted wife, Kay, take his first steps, and go out unaccompanied with the aid of an electric wheelchair.
Friends are also appealing for help raising £50,000, enough to send Stan for pioneering stem cell treatment in China, with a charity auction planned for February.
To date, doctors have been unable to say what happened during the ‘hip resurfacing procedure’, and following a legal battle the couple have been told they will not receive any compensation as the surgeon followed the correct technique.
Stan, from Wingerworth near Chesterfield, suffered arthritis pain in his hip while playing golf so decided to pay privately for the operation – a surgical alternative to total hip replacement – at Chesterfield Hospital in 2008.
After the operation Stan did not wake up for more than a week, and when he came round a CT scan revealed three parts of his brain were damaged.
He could not move his right arm and his hand had to be amputated.
“The doctors said he will need 24/7 care and won’t come home. I thought ‘He will come home if it’s the last thing I do’,” said Kay, 52.
Kay decorated her husband’s hospital room with posters of his favourite football team, Liverpool FC, and a breakthrough was made when Kay’s son Matt, 28, from a previous marriage, realised his stepdad understood what they were saying,
“Stan used to just stare and swing his left arm,” she said.
“After about two months Matt said ‘I’m sure Stan knows what we’re saying’, and asked if he could point to the player Fernando Torres in the poster. He lifted his left arm and pointed and we knew he understood.”
He soon began to communicate by pointing to ‘yes’ and ‘no’ cards, and Kay put together a book of phrases, as well as helping Stan build strength in his arm.
After nine months Stan was able to leave hospital and return home.
“Everyone’s been surprised by his progress, anybody who saw him right at the beginning after the operation compared to now would just be amazed,” Kay said.
After physio and support, Stan – once a keen sportsman playing golf, ten pin bowling and football – took his first steps at home.
Stan now communicates through a computer and last month, thanks to generous donations, was able to buy his £7,000 wheelchair.
Kay added: “When all this happened, we didn’t know for the first 24 hours whether he would survive. I remember going to bed crying. I couldn’t bear to lose him.
“Since he has been getting better he is not the man I married any more. He is totally different – but we’ve fallen in love again, in a different way.”
The couple met on a dating website and lived together for two years before marrying in 2005. Stan was an IT architect, designing complex computer networks for major companies.
“Before the operation he very rarely wanted to go out, now Stan wants to be out everywhere all the time,” Kay said.
Stan recently took part in a four-and-a-half mile ‘walk and wheel’ event, and even runs a computer repair service from home, as well as regularly popping to the shops and walking his three dogs.
His carers and friends believe the stem cell treatment could see him speak again. The treatment involves stem cells being inserted close to damaged parts of the brain.
Pals are holding a sponsored slim, and Stan’s local pub has held quiz and fun nights. An auction and charity ball are also planned for the future.
A spokesman for private health group BMI Healthcare, which dealt with Stan’s operation, said: “Under our arrangements at the time, patients were admitted to the Chatsworth Suite for their care.
“Operating theatres and other clinical support services were provided under contract by Chesterfield Hospital. All types of surgery carry risks and complications and sometimes have very sad consequences but are not due to any fault of the clinicians or treatment.”
A Chesterfield Hospital spokesperson added: “All surgery no matter how routine carries risks, and an outline of these will form part of the consent to have any operation. Care and treatment can be absolutely appropriate but sadly some patients still go on to experience complications, some of which can be life-changing and devastating.”
To help with the fundraising call Catherine Jolley on 07783 182567, or Julie Clarke on 07837 209228.
Stem Cell treatment factfile
Stem cells are the body’s ‘master cells’. They have the ability to replicate themselves, and also have the potential to develop into many different cell types that make up the human body, such as organ tissue, blood, and the immune system.
The cells serve as a form of internal repair system, dividing and differentiating to replace damaged or dead tissue.
Stem cells can be obtained from a number of sources, including embryos, placenta, adult tissue and dental pulp from the centre of teeth.
Therapies are being developed involving the use of patients’ own stem cells to repopulate specific body sites that may be defective or dead.
Stem cells could be used to treat neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, as well as heart disease and diabetes. However, development has been hampered in some countries because of ethical concerns.