St Albans man left in pain for 3.5years after knee operation cancelled four times

PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 August 2018

Richard Cubis has been waiting for a knee operation for three and a half years and has had it cancelled four times. Picture: DANNY LOO

Richard Cubis has been waiting for a knee operation for three and a half years and has had it cancelled four times. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

A pensioner has suffered for three and a half years waiting for a knee operation that keeps being cancelled.

Richard Cubis said his kneecap replacement surgery at Watford General Hospital has been cancelled four times since 2014, the most recent occasion because there were no beds available.

He only received the cancellation call half an hour before he was about to leave for the operation.

In the meantime, Richard is left in pain, with trouble walking, and is unable to leave his flat in Marshalswick sheltered accommodation.

A carer now visits Richard four times a day to check in.

The 69-year-old said: “I can’t walk because I can’t put any weight on my leg, and I feel like a prisoner in my flat.

“It makes life awkward, the knee is prone to giving way, and it hurts.”

Richard needs an overnight bed for the operation because he also has Parkinson’s and needs to adhere to a strict medication timetable which might not be possible at home.

The operation has been rescheduled for mid-August but he said he is “not holding his breath” that it will go ahead.

He added: “I was not particularly looking forward to the operation but if it will get rid of this horrible pain, I want to have it.

“It would make things a lot easier if they could do it. “

The NHS is in an “absolute shambles,” he believes, because of a lack of funding.

Divisional manager for surgery, anaesthetics and cancer at the West Herts NHS Trust, Stephanie Johnson, apologised for Richard’s “wait and inconvenience”.

She said he has been on the waiting list since last year: “We are very sorry that Mr Cubis’ knee operation has been delayed.

“He was added to the waiting list last year just before we stopped performing orthopaedic operations at Watford General. This was following a review by an external body [Getting It Right First Time] that recommended the establishment of a ring-fenced orthopaedic facility to reduce the risk of infection.

“The facility opened last September but due to winter pressures we had to halt all routine elective surgery at Watford except for the most clinically urgent cases including cancer.

“We now have a significant backlog of orthopaedic cases which we are working hard to clear.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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