Jean Littlejohn's Story


We first heard about surgeon Mr. Martin Knight of The Spinal Foundation through an article in the Scottish Sunday Post on 19 June 2011 and the minimally invasive endoscopic Spinal Surgery procedure that only he carried out in the UK. 

As a result of the article in the Scottish Sunday Post we contacted The Spinal Foundation and also contacted NHS Fife via our GP to see if they would fund an operation on my wife (Mrs. Jean Littlejohn) to be carried out by Mr. Martin Knight, NHS funding was refused.    

My wife Jean had been going to various consultants within the NHS Scotland since 2005 and in 2011 her symptoms and pain increased. By November 2011 with the pain increasing and constant,  mobility decreasing, we managed to arrange a private CT Scan at an NHS hospital on 28 November 2011 and on 3 December 2011 our GP telephoned my wife at home and said there had been a serious deterioration in her condition diagnosed as Cauda Equina Syndrome which in researching indicated in worst case if not operated on could result in the irreversible loss of bowel and bladder control and the loss of power in the legs. The doctor reviewing the private NHS CT Scan results recommended prompt neurological review. 

Given the NHS had refused to fund an operation by Mr. Martin Knight copies of the CT Scan report were faxed to Mr. Knight at The Spinal Foundation on 4 December 2011 on 5 December 2011 Mr. Knight had arranged for my wife and I to travel to Kent so that an operation could be carried out at the BMI Fawkham Manor Hospital, Fawkham, Longfield, Kent  on 10 December 2011 due to technical problems the operation was delayed. Mr. Martin Knight then carried out the operation on Saturday 17 December 2011.  

The operation took 3 hours by minimally invasive endoscopic laser surgery finalised with one stitch, 2 hours after the operation Mr. Knight took my wife Jean for a short walk along the hospital corridor, she was discharged on the afternoon of 18 December 2011. 

By June 2012 after following a course of physiotherapy my wife was up to walking 1km a day in our local park, her condition continues to improve daily and the back pain has gone. On 8 June 2012 at my grandson’s wedding in Cyprus my wife took to the dance floor, a great result. 

In 2005 an NHS consultant recommended surgery in July 2008 a NHS consultant talked my wife out of conventional spinal surgery, thank goodness on 28 November 2011 we opted for the private NHS Scan culminating in the diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome on 28 November 2011. Followed by Mr. Martin Knight successfully carrying out surgery on 17 December 2011 ending over 7 years of indecision by the NHS, pain and discomfort for my wife. 

Our deepest gratitude to The Spinal Foundation support team Jenny Jago and Christine Haygarth, Mr. Martin Knight and his surgical team and the staff at BMI Fawkham Manor Hospital, Kent.