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“Allow people to be involved in decision-making. Consultation should be a two-way street.”

Speaking at our Patient Power MedTech Week reception in December, patient Maree told the story of how innovative surgery through tailored medtech has transformed her life. We sat down with her to discuss her journey and how to empower patients by involving them in their care. 

Can you tell us about the conversations you had with different surgeons in the lead up to your surgery referral?

Following my double hip replacement in about 2004, I found that having straighter hips led to my knees buckling further, causing me both mobility problems and a great deal of pain. I was in so much pain that I was pleading with my surgeon at the time to replace my knees, but this didn’t seem an option due to the additional risks of my condition. I was asking for a knee replacement for over ten years!

I was later introduced to a new surgeon, Mr. Veysi, and once again I sought his opinion for a knee replacement surgery. Following my consultation he worked with the implant manufacturer’s MedTech Customs team in Leeds to design and custom-build my knees. I was told later that the knee implant was the smallest that had ever been engineered and it took world leading expertise to bring the project to completion.

How has being involved in decisions about your treatment transformed your life?

Before my discussions with Mr.Veysi, I felt despondent, unheard, and even ignored. I had been asking for a procedure I knew I needed and despite the pain, discomfort, and restricted movement, I was being told it was too risky for me. It wasn’t being disputed that I needed the procedure, just “I was too risky”. It felt like all the options weren’t being considered against the amount of pain I was living with. It was debilitating.

When I met Mr. Veysi he was open to talking about the possibility, and even just the initial conversation made me feel instantly better and gave me renewed hope. Being able to express how I felt, the problems I was having, and the pain I was in, gave me a sense of involvement and confidence. I was no longer a problem to solve, but part of finding the solution – that alone was therapeutic. Having hope is an indescribable motivation to persevere and bear the pain.

You attended the Medtech Week event at Parliament on the theme of ‘patient power’. How do you think treatment on the NHS can be improved if more patients are involved in decisions around their treatment?

Allow people to be involved in decision-making! Consultation should be a two-way street. People know their own bodies and more importantly, a good nurse, doctor or surgeon will be able to make a better, more informed, beneficial diagnosis and subsequent treatment

Perhaps through dialogue, mutual understanding, and respect for all, patients can feel empowered through what can be a very long and scary road to surgery and recovery.

January 2024

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