Pride in our NHS: Great-grandmother thanks '˜hero' Sheffield surgeon and team for preventing her becoming paralysed

A great-grandmother is looking forward to Christmas with her family after Sheffield NHS staff prevented her becoming paralysed.

Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:23 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:25 am
Great-grandmother Lois Ward has thanked 'hero' Sheffield surgeon Mr Marcel Ivanov

A great-grandmother is looking forward to Christmas with her family after Sheffield NHS staff prevented her becoming paralysed.

Lois Ward, aged 92, received an early festive gift and thanked 'hero' surgeon Marcel Ivanov and his team for removing a tumour from her spinal cord.

The tumour had gradually caused Mrs Ward to lose more and more mobility and function from the waist down. By August 2017, the previously independent lady was no longer able to walk, drive or go out by herself. She also suffered from incontinence and had a lack of feeling in her legs and toes.

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Mrs Ward was referred to Mr Ivanov, a consultant neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, after a scan revealed the large benign tumour was pressing on her spinal cord.

Mrs Ward, from Walton in Chesterfield said: “I was amazed when I was told there was something that could be done to stop me from becoming paralysed and help restore by dignity. I was informed of the risks due to my age but after discussing with my family I decided to go ahead with the operation.”

The operation was a success and she is now recovering well at home. She has gained function from the waist down and is able to walk again.

Even better still, could soon be popping to the shop by the New Year as she's back on her feet moving around the house.

She added: “How do you thank someone for giving you more years of quality life? Mr Ivanov and the whole team who cared for me are hero’s in my eyes. They have given me my dignity and mobility back and I can never thank them all enough.

"I’m now looking forward to spending Christmas with my family and hope my mobility will have improved even further by the New Year.”

Mr Ivanov said: “Mrs Ward is a lovely lady who was rapidly losing her independence and had already lost the ability to walk, I was really impressed by her desire to fight and her extremely positive attitude. She simply could not accept watching herself getting paralysed from the waist down.

"The surgery on the spinal cord is a very delicate procedure, that often lasts many hours of work under microscope, trying to preserve that remaining 1-2 mm of spinal cord that keeps the patient mobile.”

“Even in young people it has significant challenges. With aging the patient’s ability to cope with the stress of long surgery is diminishing and the main challenge was to make the procedure very precise, but also very quick.

"We have a fantastic team of neurosurgeons, neurophysiologists, neuroanaesthetists, nurses, physiotherapists as well as top of the range equipment at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and I am delighted to see that we could help Mrs Ward.

"There is nothing more rewarding than seeing her recovering so well after surgery and regaining her independence, which at some point was very close to being lost.”