Martha McCarthy

Martha McCarthy

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Martha has Life Changing Hip Surgery

Martha underwent bilateral femoral and pelvic osteotomies at the John Radcliffe Children's Hospital on Monday 13th June. The operation took two surgeons working simultaneously nearly six hours to complete. During this time they cut the head from both of Martha's femurs and repositioned the ball joint at the correct angle, cutting away approx. 1.5cm of bone from each femur. The right hip socket was then opened up and reconstructed using the bone taken from the femur. The ball joints were then relocated into the hip sockets and held together securely with a number of metal plates and pins. These are likely to stay in place but may need to be removed after a year if they cause discomfort. They also performed a tendon release on her right hamstrings which will hopefully help Martha to extend her leg fully.

Martha arriving on the ward after surgery

Martha spent two hours in the recovery area due to her temperature dropping during surgery. Once back on the ward, Martha's pain was managed by a combination of an epidural and intravenous (IV) morphine. She was also on IV fluids, regular paracetamol and her usual epilepsy medication.

The first few days were quite tough for Martha as she'd lost a lot of blood during the surgery and needed a blood transfusion. The morphine based pain relief (both epidural and IV) didn't agree with Martha - it made her very itchy and uncomfortable.

Day 3 with slightly more colour after transfusion

Once Martha was able to come off the epidural and IV medication on day 4 she really turned a corner. The nurses were able to successfully manage Martha's pain medication orally and she seemed so much better being able to finally get into her chair and go to the ward play room for some fresh air. Martha also spent some time with the ward play specialists and even went to the ward class room for a short time.

IV free and enjoying the ward play area

Martha was discharged from the hospital after 6 days and has spent the last few weeks recovering at home. She has had regular visits from the community nurse to change her dressings and from her community physio to see how her legs are recovering (we aren't expecting to start intensive physio until after she has seen her consultant at the beginning of August).

Happy to be welcomed home

Martha and her family would like to thank everyone at the John Radcliffe Children's Hospital who cared for Martha so well during her time with them. We couldn't have asked for anything better and we are really grateful that the NHS is able to provide this sort of life changing operation for children like Martha.

We are very optimistic about the future, with the restrictions of Martha's old hips now gone we have every hope that she will be able to start standing, taking steps and transferring between chairs/equipment in the future.


  1. Bless her, didn't really appreciate how much of an invasive operation it was - love to you all xx