Lincoln’s bionic man celebrates being on the move again

With two new hips, knees and surgery just about to take place on his shoulder, Guy Gibbs may sound like Lincoln’s own bionic man, but the former nurse and lifelong keep fit devotee is just grateful to be on the road to recovery after years of debilitating pain

Barlborough-NHS-Treatment-Centre - bionic-manMr Gibbs, aged 78, had worked as a nurse since his four years’ service in the Royal Air Force, where he trained and practised. After leaving the RAF he continued his training, first becoming a general nurse and later becoming a mental health specialist. He worked as far afield as Australia and Texas, as well as in St. John’s Hospital Lincoln, Lincoln County Hospital and Rampton Hospital.

Mr Gibbs, whose exercise regime had routinely included running, swimming and weightlifting, was suddenly struck down by rheumatoid arthritis in 2010. He said:

“It came in fast and wiped me out within a few months. I had to give up any form of exercise or activity.

“I was only pain-free when I sat absolutely still: any movement set off excruciating pain in my joints. I put off taking action but in 2014 I went to see my GP. I was referred to the rheumatology department at Lincoln County Hospital and there I was given steroids. For the first time in four years I began to feel some hope and relief.”

Following tests and x-rays, Mr Gibbs was told he needed both hips and knees replaced as well as surgery on his shoulders.

“Friends at our church told me about their positive experiences at Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre in Derbyshire, and so I opted to be treated there, despite the 100-mile round-trip.”

Mr Gibbs’s left hip was replaced in December 2014 and he was so pleased with the experience and results he elected to have his left knee replaced at the centre in the following June; then, at regular intervals, his right hip and right knee were replaced.

He said:

“The centre is exceptionally clean, friendly and my surgeon, Mr Mersich, is wonderful. He is very professional, kind and polite and I have elected to have all my procedures with him.”

Mr Gibbs was also pleased with the style of surgery at the centre that sees patients up and working with physiotherapists hours after their surgery. This leads to average joint replacement stays of just two to three days.

He said:

“I have always found that people recuperate better at home, I know I do, and so this was another attraction of having all my procedures at the centre.”

In September 2016 he went to the centre again, this time for shoulder surgery.

He said:

“I really did have the dream team of Mr Mersich and the centre’s medical director, Marco la Malfa, as my anaesthetist. When they opened me up they discovered a lot of debris and samples were taken for analysis. After their consultation at the table they decided to clean the area and close up to ensure there was no infection.

When I came around they were both there to explain their decision. They explained that the samples taken away would be sent for analysis and when they had the results and I was fully recovered they would conduct the operation. I found it very reassuring to know my wellbeing and safety was at the front of their minds as they operated.”

Mr Gibbs is now waiting for the appointment to have his shoulder surgery.

He said:

“Having the need of surgery is never an enviable situation but if it must be done then Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre is certainly the perfect option to make the whole procedure, from beginning to the successful end result. I am happy to commend it to everyone.”

As with his other surgeries, Mr Gibbs will undertake his physiotherapy at the centre’s musculoskeletal service in Lincoln.

Hospital director Steve Booker said:

“It is very rewarding to know that a patient has such a high level of trust in our team that they have entrusted us with so many procedures. It is also nice to know that Mr Gibbs feels the 100 mile round-trip is worth it to be surrounded by professionals he knows and trusts.

We are all looking forward to welcoming him back to the centre when he returns for his shoulder surgery later in the year.”