• Mark Sandbach

Hand trauma patients get new service

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent patients with hand trauma are to benefit from life changing surgery closer to home after a new service was launched at University Hospitals of North Midlands. The specialist brachial plexus surgery repairs the group of nerves coming out from the root of a person’s neck supplying sensation and function to the shoulder, elbow, hand and wrist. In adults, they are usually injured in road traffic collisions, falls from height, fractures or stab wounds. During the last 35 years the regional centre for provision of this specialist service was Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry and now expertise in this field is available on the doorstep of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent patients at both the Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital in Stafford. Mr Akshay Malhotra, Consultant Orthopaedic Hand and Wrist Surgeon at UHNM, said: “Royal Stoke University Hospital is one of the busiest trauma centres in the country and colleagues and I strongly felt that it was time to bring this service back to UHNM. The injuries we see can be quite debilitating for the patients due to significant physical, mental and social impact. The surgery is aimed at providing these patients a better quality of life enabling them to manage their day-to-day activities with increased confidence and ability. He added: “Launching the service at UHNM means that our local population no longer has to travel several miles away to Shropshire to have this treatment and it is available much closer to home.” The service has been established working closely with Mr Simon Pickard, (RJAH) consultant orthopaedic consultant who specialises in peripheral nerve injuries as well as upper limb spasticity. Mr Malhotra said: “The majority of these surgeries are time consuming and tedious and therefore require two surgeons with the necessary expertise to perform them. Since my appointment at UHNM I have been going to RJAH to perform these surgeries with Mr Pickard and he joined me at County Hospital in Stafford for our first case locally.” Mr Graham Mckie, of Hixon, near Stafford was the first patient to undergo specialist brachial plexus surgery at County Hospital in April 2021. He needed the surgery following a near fatal motorbike accident on the A34 in August 2020. The 54-year-old ex-policeman and motorcycle instructor, said: “I was taken to the Royal Stoke after I was involved in a serious motorbike accident. My leg required reconstruction surgery and I was in an induced coma for three weeks and wasn’t discharged until the October. “While I was still recovering from my leg injury, I didn’t gain full use of my right arm either and following a number of tests it was suggested I had brachial plexus surgery. This has meant I will have no need for nerve or muscles grafts and I have been told in time there will be no holding me back.” Graham, who is also a Blood Bike Volunteer, added: “I only live 15 minutes down the road from County Hospital so to be able to have theatre there was great and the facilities were phenomenal. “I cannot thank all the staff enough who have treated me from right after the accident up until now as I receive physiotherapy. Everyone has been amazing, especially considering the circumstances and pressures of Covid-19 during my time in hospital. I owe them my life.”





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