Andy Ryan's Story

  • Age: 41-50
  • Location: Newcastle
  • Story:
  • "I was unable to walk or get out of bed...."


In November 2011 I attended South Tyneside Diagnostic Centre for a test for a suspected water infection. During the test something went wrong with the camera, there seemed to be concern between the nurse and the doctor. The nurse went out and returned with other equipment.  They then completed their test and sent me home.

After driving home that night I developed a high temperature, started vomiting and passing blood in my urine. The hospital had given me a prescription but the dispensary was closed so my wife had to collect the antibiotics the following day.

After being ill for 6 days with lower back and leg pains I was admitted to South Tyneside hospital on 15th December, by this stage I was unable to walk or get out of bed.

I was transferred later that night to Newcastle RVI, where I was diagnosed with septic arthritis of the right knee, C5/C6 discitis and a small abscess in the prevertebral soft tissue.

At the RVI I was fitted with a Halo guard bolted to my head on 31st December, and after being diagnosed with a staph aureus septicaemia I was put on an intense course 3 months of effective IV antibiotics.

After spending 4.5 months in hospital, I returned home wearing my “halo” that had been bolted onto my head to protect my neck (Discitis). I was supplied with an air bed and had to move my bed from upstairs as I was unable to walk unaided or climb stairs. My wife slept on our sofa and feed me and attended to all my toiletry needs, like washing etc.

This situation lasted for about 4 months during which time I progressed to sitting in a special high backed chair. I had to return to hospital a few times due to my confusion, – I could not remember my wife’s name and I thought my wife and my sister in law were the same person. – One was pleasant to live with one day & the other more harsh with me on another day.

I also experienced various delusions, thinking that I was in a different place, talking to other people. Possibly some of this could be put down to all the prescribed drugs I was on.

As I progressed I continued to get daily visits from the district nurses.

After a further recovery period of about 6 months I developed liver cirrhosis with intermittent hepatic encephalopathy – one of my doctors described my mind situation as being the worst case of encephalopathy she had seen.

I eventually had a liver transplant in September 2014, and was checked for sepsis after my surgery on my operation scar.

It is now 2016 and am still being checked by Freemans hospital,  my local hospital and my own GP.  To date everything’s going along fine. My weight has returned to 14stone from being down to 10stone during my illness.

I would like to thank all the doctors, nurses, health visitors, my wife, family, friends without who I would not be writing this letter.

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