“Jake called his father first, who called me and told me ‘Jake’s foot’s hanging off’. When he arrived in resus at hospital he was on a spinal board and refusing painkillers.”
Jake was given two options: to amputate the leg or undergo a procedure to try to save it.
As Jenny recounted, “Jake chose the latter, so we signed some consent forms and the doctors began the process of salvaging his leg. It began with two weeks of antibiotics, followed by 18 hours of surgery which resulted in a procedure to replace a lost tendon and shinbone.”
Following that initial operation, twelve weeks into his recovery, a setback occurred when, with his mobility still restricted, Jake collapsed at home and was immediately ‘blue lighted’ to hospital alongside his mum.
“I called Jake’s plastic surgeon, Mr Wallace, on the way the hospital to warn him that we were on the way. He met us there and Jake was whisked straight to theatre,” recalls Jenny.
An hour later, Mr Wallace emerged to explain that options to save the leg were limited. The bone was infected with osteomyelitis, to the extent that the bone literally crumbled in the experienced surgeons hands.
On Friday 13th March 2020, just days before the first national ‘lockdown’, Jake underwent the procedure to amputate his limb below the knee.
The operation was a success and in the words of his mother, it was the ‘start of a better life’with the daily physical pain he had been living with, since that Friday in November, now gone.
Jake was finally ready to begin his rehabilitation. However, in the hospital where he was due to receive his treatment, two people tested positive for Covid-19, so he was referred to a local NHS rehabilitation centre.
The effect of lockdown on the local NHS provision was devastating.
At a time when Jake was supposed to be receiving the most intensive phase of rehabilitation and therapy, in reality he was getting very little practical support.
Attempts to start effective rehabilitation were delayed as the NHS mobilised its resources to deal with the pandemic and restrictions were launched across the country. The challenges faced by the NHS meant that Jake’s recovery was in risk of being jeopardised.
Often, if an individual sustains serious injuries and there is a litigation claim, a case manager is appointed, who’s role is to identify, recommend and support the right course of rehabilitation for the injured party.