The majority of us wouldn’t relish the thought of being awake during a medical procedure but Norman Parkhurst could watch it on a monitor.
“I couldn’t feel a thing,” laughed the 84 year-old from Pinner, who spent several hours on the table as doctors saved his leg from amputation.
It was a case of second time, second leg lucky for the retired civil servant who blames the problem on a 50-a-day cigarette habit picked up in the Territorial Army.
It proved a lot less problematic than his first procedure which followed three previous failures to bypass the main artery running down a leg so choked with plaque it was starving the limb of oxygen.
Norman added: “My lower leg was covered in weeping ulcers which meant I couldn’t walk far. It was so painful it woke me up at night.”
The West London Vascular and Interventional Centre suggested a minimally invasive procedure involving the insertion of micro wires and catheters into the blocked arteries clearing a passage allowing blood to flow back into the lower limb.
The devices would normally be guided into the artery via the groin but where so blocked an entry point was made below the knee.
The diameter of the blood vessel was only 3mm making it the first time that such equipment had successfully navigated such a small passage. The result was widely published in trade publications and presented at various meetings around the world.
Norman’s leg subsequently healed high-lighting the importance of post-operative wound care and the ‘one-stop service provided by the centre’s medical team.
Lorenzo added: “I used the same technique in the latest procedure. It was tricky but familiar territory so was less problematic.”
However, it wasn’t without its risks. Lorenzo added: “Norman’s age and heart condition made a general anaesthetic risky so was awake for the whole procedure and allowed home later that day.”
So has the pensioner stopped smoking? “Oh yes. I’m on the mints now.”
(Image Credit: NHS)