John – a knee replacement patient’s story

On returning from New Zealand in 2009 I suffered a swelling to my prosthetic knee. Naively I considered this to be linked to 24 hours at altitude. Seven days later, and feeling considerably unwell, I presented at hospital to find myself whisked to theatre having my prosthetic knee removed, an antibiotic cement block put in its place and receiving intravenous antibiotics through a line to my chest for the next six weeks.

I was unaware that I was close to death with a serious infection. The intravenous antibiotics saved my life. The antibiotic cement block in place of my artificial knee saved the infection travelling any further into the bones of my leg – saving me from a potential amputation.

It was a long six months for me, but one I recovered from. I now have a second knee replacement, I am mobile and have a good quality of life. For this I thank the skill of my surgeon. My surgeon thanks the antibiotic treatments that I received, without which I would not have survived, or enjoy the quality of life I now have.

I do not know the name of the bacteria that caused my infection, I do know that it could have killed me. I do not really understand how antibiotics work, I do however know that they saved my life. I am grateful. My wife is grateful. My four daughters are grateful as are my grandchildren. I urge anyone who is in a position to influence antibiotic development to do so – it will help others to live and recognise how vitally and extraordinarily important antibiotics really are to ordinary men like me and ordinary families such as mine.


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