NHS bosses refuse teenager £10,000 operation to protect his brain

A teenager is being denied a 10,000 NHS operation to rebuild his skull following a motorbike crash.

Shaun Kilgariff from Stoke-on-Trent was left fighting for his life last October after the accident left him suffering swelling on the brain.

Shaun must wear a cap to protect his head while he waits for an operation to rebuild his skull.

Surgeons had to remove part of his skull to keep him alive and he was in a coma for two weeks.

The 18-year-old then had four months of intensive rehabilitation.

Now Sainsbury’s worker Shaun, who wears a cap to protect his head, is waiting for an operation to rebuild his skull.

His surgeon wants to perform a 10,000 custom bone cranioplasty, which would see a custom-made implant from synthetic materials similar to bone fitted onto his skull.

But NHS Stoke-on-Trent is only willing to pay for a 2,500 operation, which would fit a titanium plate.

Specialists have told Shaun, from Stoke on Trent, that the plate is not shaped, would leave him with a square head and would need replacing.

Shaun said: ‘I’ve been told the titanium plate will become dislodged over time, which suggests it’s unreliable.

‘I’d eventually need another operation and I don’t want to keep going back into hospital.’

Shaun’s NHS Trust will only offer his a titanium implant, which will leave him with a square head and will need to be replaced

His father Christopher, aged 52, said: ‘The 10,000 operation might be more expensive, but the titanium plate will need to be replaced, so it doesn’t make financial sense.’

His mother Tina said the family had been told the titanium plate would be ‘noticeably square’ with a ridge.

She said: ‘The custom bone implant can be shaped properly and, with Shaun being young, the bone will grow over it, so it will get better in time.’

The family is appealing against NHS Stoke-on-Trent’s decision. The trust, which has one other request for an implant, is waiting for specialist advice. 

In a letter to Shaun’s MP Joan Walley, trust chief executive Graham Urwin said: ‘The current treatment plan for patients with similar problems to your constituent is for patients to have titanium plates attached to the skull.’

A trust spokesman added: ‘The trust and specialist NHS commissioners are reviewing a service development proposal for custom bone implants.

‘This process will review many things, including the clinical outcomes and safety of the procedure.’


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This entry was posted on Saturday, September 25th, 2010 at 9:35 am and is filed under Health Ideas. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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