“I’m sure it’s saved a tonne of money for the NHS, I only see a doctor once a year”
Parkinson’s disease patient, Aideen Corr, explains how medical technology has changed her life.
Aideen Corr was just 43 when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a condition in which the brain is progressively damaged over many years that affects around 153,000 people in the UK. We caught up with her to discuss how medical technology transformed her treatment and gave her a ‘new lease for life’.
What is your medical condition and how has it changed your life?
I was doing a Masters and I remember that every time I went to type, my left foot kept shaking. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1995. After seven years my symptoms worsened so I was started on medications.
I was very sensitive to my meds. I had nausea and very severe dyskinesia. We had to keep chopping and changing to get a recipe that worked for me. I remember going to see a consultant in Belfast in 2005 and he said, “Okay, we’ll try another medication’ and I remember saying, ‘Oh God, not another one!’
Tell us about your experience with medical technology and more specifically Deep Brain Stimulation.
My friend was very into medical programmes and had seen DBS on the television. It was a four hour operation in which they put the rods into my skull. On Monday it was switched on and we spent about a week getting the settings right.
DBS completely transformed my symptoms and allowed me to avoid the unpleasant side effects from my meds.
I was very conscious of the tremors when I was out and about. I wouldn’t go out even though I was a very outgoing person. That all changed – it was a new lease of life!
Now 14 years on, I am not as good as I’d like to be but I’m still very mobile and active. I horse ride, swim and garden daily.
I’m sure it’s saved a fortune for the NHS, I rarely see the doctor, I only go to hospital once a year. I can now recharge my battery wirelessly once a week and it lasts for twenty five years.
Barbara Harpham, Chair of the MTG:
Aideen’s story demonstrates the immense value of long term investment in medical technology for the NHS. Our Keeping Britain Working report found savings of £476.5 million could be generated by the widespread implementation of just eight technologies similar in their life enhancing and pain saving ability to Deep Brain Stimulation.
Equitable and timely access is also vital if the benefits of such technology are to be fully harnessed. In the long term, investment in medical technology keeps people out of hospital, improves clinical efficiency and saves the NHS money.