Spectacular result for Southampton Spinal patient
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I was delighted to read earlier this week about the successful spinal surgery that was carried out by spinal orthopaedic surgeon Mr Evan Davies, on his patient, Mili Wood.
Mili, who comes from Cheshire, suffers from very severe scoliosis (curvature) of the spine, which was evident from as early as the age of 2. The degree of curve increased as Mili grew older, despite the fact that she wore a form of spinal brace until the age of five, and according to news reports, she sadly suffered from bullying as a consequence throughout her school years, as well as very significant levels of pain and disability. Mili reached the point where her pain was so bad that she was unable to walk up stairs, and missed three years of school.
The extent of the curvature, and the inherent risks with all spinal surgery, meant that the three surgeons that her family approached, felt that the risk of operating was too great and could lead to paralysis or worse. By the time of her surgery, the degree of curvature had progressed to 86 degrees.
However, Consultant spinal orthopaedic surgeon, Evan Davies, who practices in Southampton, was willing to accept the challenge. Both Mili and her parents were advised that there was a 20% risk that she could sustain permanent paralysis, but given the level of day-to-day pain that she had to deal with, and the paucity of alternative options, Mili opted to go ahead with the surgery. According to reports, the surgery took somewhere between 8 and 10 hours and thankfully has been extremely successful.
Mili is now apparently 4 inches taller than she was before the surgery and is intending on going to college to further her life and career.
There are risks associated with all surgery and it is imperative that patients and their families are properly informed of these. A 20% risk of very serious complications is significantly higher than most surgical procedures. However, if the patient's quality of life is so badly affected without the surgery that they are willing to take this fully informed risk, then surely the decision should rest with them. According to reports, Mr Davies clearly explained these risks and it is to his credit that he was willing to perform the surgery, which has in Mili's words "changed my life forever".
I wish Mili all the very best for the future and applaud Mr Davies for his stance.
As a clinical negligence solicitor, my work inevitably involves meeting patients who have had an unfavourable outcome following medical treatment. However I am aware that many more patients are successfully treated by skilled medical practitioners on a daily basis and as a Southampton resident, was extremely pleased to read about Mili's case.
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