war veteran Adam Douglas who has recently undergone pioneering surgery to improve his bladder and bowel control after suffering serious spinal cord injuries in 2003." />

The Bionic Man

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Adam, aged 43, was blown up by a rock-propelled grenade whilst serving in Iraq.  He spent a total of nine months in hospital.  He uses walking aids and was unable to control his bladder or bowel.

A relatively short procedure to surgically implant electrodes into his lower spine was performed by Consultant Urologist Neil Harris at St James's Hospital in Leeds.  The electrodes are attached to two pace-makers hidden under the skin in his back. The procedure, called a 'sacral neuromodulation' costs just £20,000.  The pacemaker generates a current to the electrodes and into the nerves that supply the pelvis, which aims to mimic the way the nerves supply the organs in the pelvis, which control bladder and bowel control.

For Adam, the operation has transformed his life and that of his wife and two daughters.  He told the Yorkshire Evening Post, who reported on the story: At the moment I feel like I am the Bionic Man. I've got some new scars but it's radically improved my quality of life."

Mr Harris, who served as a medical officer with The Light Dragoons before becoming a surgeon, has said: For veterans who have sustained spinal injuries resulting in bowel or bladder problems this is a technique we should be offering.

Those who suffer spinal cord injury are not only significantly compromised in terms of mobility but each organ at and below the site of injury will, in most cases, suffer catastrophic damage.  Techniques of this kind are a by-product of conflict and I would hope that this procedure is offered, not just to our veterans, but all victims of spinal cord injury with bowel and bladder problems.

Grant Evatt is a Solicitor in the Personal Injury team.

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