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Patient who faced amputation goes home walking

Derrick Ayebo’s recovery was “almost a miracle” according to his physiotherapist, Gianluca Saracino.

Derrick's story

Derrick's story

Link: https://youtu.be/z6EaPthPEt4

Video transcript

My name is Derrick Ayebo. I'm 46 years old. I had a car accident way back in August. 2021 in West Africa, Ghana. I came back to the UK in November, in the middle of November, 2021. And I was at Luton and Dunstable to check on a slight leakage, I would say, from my left knee after the initial surgeries and they detected some form of severe infection which they felt they couldn't handle. And then they transferred me up to Cambridge - Addenbrooke's.

I would say that's my first time even being in a hospital for any length of time. So it has gone by relatively speaking quite quickly I would say. The treatment has been basically to take out internal metalwork in my leg and replace it with external metalwork to aid the fractures, to be stable.

And it's been great, to be honest with you. I mean, I think it's been life changing, because I was sitting at home unaware I was borderline septicemic. I think they call it septicemia, which was mainly close to losing the neck or losing my life. For somebody who was let's say, before the accident, highly independent, to be in this situation has brought a different perspective on life.

You know, it has, it's made me realize that you can be helped, you know. So it's been wonderful in that aspect because the team has been a great team from the consultant. Doctor Kerkovic to his secretaries, Elizabeth and the whole team, Doctor Raul, you know, Doctor Alex, the whole team, they've just been wonderful, you know. As for the orthopedic team, I can't speak highly enough of them.

And being here for so long, I've seen the magic they do, because I've been in a bay with five other patients, including me six. So I would say I've been privileged to meet more than a hundred different people in my four month stint. You know, people who come in from car accidents, falling off ladders at home, and I see how people are helped and, you know, they come in, in trouble and they go home happy and they're all appreciative. When you see them going home and they're smiling and laughing. It's different to when they came in all sad and some crying.

At first it was very tough. It was very tough because initially I didn't know I'd be here, I never dreamt I'll be here even a week because I thought it was just, you know, I just thought I was coming in maybe for some antibiotics to clean up an infection or something.

They had to escalate the whole treatment to open me up and take out the old metalwork inside and put on outside metalwork. Like I said, I was highly independent and I was quite, I would say for a 45 year old, I was quite strong. You know, I trained daily, I used to like going to the gym and trying to keep myself in good shape and everything.

So being in a situation that you can't even use your two legs and can't even use one of your arms, it was tough. Physically I would say you go through pain barriers that you didn't think you could go through. So many people have invested so much into this recovery, not only me, I've realised. Because this team, it's like a family now, so I'm not doing this just for myself and my immediate family, I want to do this for the team as well.

I want to make them feel that all their time and effort has not gone to waste. So whatever the pain, if it's too much, "Oh no I can't..." no. There is no I can't do it. You must do it. You must do it. To be frank, I just am happy to be alive, number one. I'm happy to still have my limbs, number two. I'm just happy to be in such an environment, to be honest with you.

Like I said, you hear so many, sorry to say, horror stories of hospital stays and I've not got a bad word to say about this ward, to be honest with you, I've just found myself very lucky.

I've been in a good place, great environment. They were all very caring, you know, all of them. They just be wonderful, to be frank. They really care. They really do.

Father-of-three Derrick arrived at Addenbrooke’s hospital in November 2021 after treatment from a car accident abroad became infected. He had sepsis deep in his leg bone, his life was in danger, and leg amputation was being discussed. Derrick needed multiple operations on his leg, plus powerful antibiotics to treat the infection.

Patient Derrick Ayebol treated
Start of a journey - patient Derrick Ayebo

But earlier this week, after more than five months of treatment, 46-yr-old Derrick was discharged from hospital, able to walk with the help of a frame.

Gianluca, who began treating Derrick in April this year, said that he was in the top one percent of successful recoveries. He added:

I was amazed how much Derrick achieved - it was like a miracle. He said to us ‘please don’t give up on me’ and he had promised his son that he would play football with him again.

Physiotherapist, Gianluca Saracino

Learning to stand was extremely painful for Derrick, but he was determined to be able to feed himself, dress himself and regain his independence once again.

Derrick Ayebo - determined to walk
Derrick Ayebo - determined to walk

Derrick said: "

I promised my son that I would play football again with him. It is incredible what the wonderful people at Addenbrooke’s did for me – everyone, from the consultant, the secretaries, the nurses, the cleaners – everyone. I can’t thank them enough.

Derrick Ayebo

“As for the orthopaedic team – I can’t speak highly enough of them. Being here for so long, I have seen the magic that they do. In my five months I saw more than a hundred people come in, people who have had car accidents, or who have fallen off ladders at home, and I see how people are helped. They come in in trouble, and they go home happy.”

He added: “So many people have invested so much into my recovery. I am so grateful to them. I want to get stronger not only for me and my immediate family, but for the whole team here at Addenbrooke’s. They all really care, they really do.”