HEALTH Man opts to amputate leg after years of antibiotic resistance

A MAN has had his leg amputated after contracting a superbug infection following what should have been a routine knee replacement.

He is one of a growing number of NHS patients for whom common operations are going horribly wrong because of the rise of antibiotic resistance.

Paul Tilley, 68, a former catering manager from Dalton in North Yorkshire, had his right leg removed before Christmas because he contracted the bug after a simple knee replacement.

Doctors battled the infection over the course of six years with a series of follow-up operations but had no success.

‘After six years of pain and not being able to live my 
life, a leg amputation was the only choice’

“The doctors don’t tell you you need a leg amputation – you have to take the decision yourself. But after six years of pain and not being able to live my life it was the only choice,” he says.

Mr Tilley is one of a growing number of NHS patients to have fallen victim to the epidemic of antibiotic resistance that has been building over the last few years.

Data suggest there are at least 2000 superbug-related deaths in the UK each year, many linked to simple but invasive operations such as hip and knee replacements.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, warned in The Daily Telegraph last year of a dark future for modern medicine unless the blight of antibiotic resistance could be tackled. She predicted a future “where the types of intervention we routinely deliver today, such as caesarean sections, chemotherapy and hip replacements become extremely dangerous … due to drug resistant infections”.

Mr Tilley’s problems began almost as soon as his knee was replaced, despite his having been given prophylactic antibiotics.

“Within a matter of days I was in the most tremendous pain. I was shaking and vomiting. The nurses had to call the surgeon out in the middle of the night,” he said.

His medical notes show a series of infections set in, including the superbugs methicillin-resistant ­Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and ­Enterobacter cloacae.

Mr Tilley underwent a leg ­amputation in November and is ­looking forward to having a prosthesis ­fitted in the next few months.

Grahame White