Upminster’s bionic woman praises caring treatment centre team

A former line dancing and fitness instructor who has had multiple surgeries to manage the debilitating effects of a bone weakening condition is encouraging people to keep active and to have their surgery at North East London NHS Treatment Centre.

March 24 2017

Mrs Jan Hughes, 62, was living an active life, teaching keep fit classes across the east London and Essex area, when she began noticing the tell-tale signs of the osteoarthritis that had affected her mother’s health.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint disease, according to Arthritis UK, affecting at least eight million people in the UK. It causes pain, stiffness, a grating or grinding sensation in the joint and swelling. It can lead to degeneration resulting in total joint replacement. Particularly affecting women over 50, there is some evidence to suggest a hereditary element to the condition.

“The pain started in my knees 20 years ago. Doctors at the time told me to hold off from surgery for as long as possible as, in those days, the surgery was only effective once. At the age I was then, there was the risk that I would wear out my new knee at still a relatively young age,”

But after years of increasing pain, Jan decided to opt for surgery at the North East London NHS Treatment Centre in Ilford.

“Six years ago the pain became too much: it was excruciating. I had done everything right, as far as bone health is concerned, but the degenerative condition had progressed.”

Mrs Hughes had her left knee replaced at the centre and three months later she had the right knee replaced.

“I was delighted with the care I received. My surgeon, Mr Raje was excellent and the team on the ward were wonderfully caring. The results were fantastic.”

Mrs Hughes even helped others recuperate by getting them walking around the ward after their surgery.

“I believe that if you don’t use it you lose it. I know if I had not kept exercising over the years I would be in a wheelchair by now.”

There was further treatment at the centre for Mrs Hughes, this time on her foot. She said:

“I developed a bunion and so I had my surgery at the centre. Again I could not have been more impressed by everyone’s care and helpful attitude.”

Unfortunately, this was not the end of Mrs Hughes’ surgery, as she realised the pain she had felt in her knees was now affecting her right hip.

“I would not have had my replacement surgery anywhere else so when Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Attila Pataki, told me it was time to have my hip replaced I had it done at the centre. After all, it is spotless, everyone is kind and the food is very good.”

Again, the surgery was a complete success and Mrs Hughes was delighted with the team and their results. This time Mrs Hughes said she was surprised at the recovery process.

“Knees need exercising as much as possible but hips need very specific rehabilitation and I was glad to be able to learn what I needed to do from the physiotherapy team.”

Mrs Hughes was also diagnosed with ingrowing toenails that chiropodists had not been able to rectify. Mr Pataki also agreed to deal with those, despite being an orthopaedic consultant. He said:

“Mrs Hughes is a delightful lady and, given her many operations and visits, she is known to us all and she is on first name terms with the reception team.

“She has a very positive attitude and just the right attitude to osteoarthritis. Exercise can lead to a reduction of bone loss, improve muscle strength, increase mobility, coordination and balance as well as increasing over-all health and wellbeing.”

Hospital Director Kerry White said:

“I am delighted that our team have helped to ‘rebuild’ Mrs Hughes so that she can once again enjoy an active life. Patients frequently tell us they really value the team’s caring and professional nature.

“Mrs Hughes has also helped her rehabilitation by working towards maintaining her fitness. We have developed a pocket physio app that can help patients supplement the physiotherapy they receive with us by following a video of patients working with physios to correctly carry out the movements.”

The app can be download free at http://www.careukhealthcare.com/pocketphysio.

Osteoarthritis treatments are part of a range of treatments available at North East London NHS Treatment Centre. If your GP agrees that you need treatment you can ask them to refer you to the hospital for treatment – it is part of your choice as an NHS patient.