Leah's story

Written by Leah's mum, Marion

On 20th December 1995 Leah, aged 12 at the time woke up with excruciating pain in her right shoulder and a high temperature.  We had no idea then what a long and painful journey lay ahead.  After visits to the GP and several to A & E over the next few days she was eventually admitted to Barnet Hospital on Christmas Day.

Three days later she was transferred to St Marys in a critical condition with 'overwhelming infection' suffering from osteomyelitis, septicaemia and pneumonia.  Although absolutely devastated at the time my husband and I remember the relief we felt meeting the team at St Mary’s.  Sam was the paediatrician, David Hunt the orthopaedic surgeon, Parviz Habibi headed up the PICU and we also remember Simon Nadel and Professor Simon Kroll all applying their skills and expertise to her case.

Parviz Habibi explained how the treatment would progress, that it was necessary to operate to remove large areas of infection as well as treat with several intravenous antibiotics such as Gentamicin.  He explained how she would be operated on and prepared us for her admission into the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.  It was a traumatic time for all our family to see Leah undergo surgery several times to remove the large infected areas in her clavicle and tibia but the staff were so attentive and skilled that we knew she could not have better care.

After being in the PICU she was moved to a lovely room where I was able to stay with her throughout the three weeks of her stay.  She then underwent several interventions when infection would be drawn out through needles when located by ultrasound.  

 I remember the efficient nursing team and the early morning visits of the Orthopods when I would jump out of my chair-bed to dress hurriedly!  I also recall many multi-team discussions re treatment and her progress.  I was amazed at how many hours some of the doctors were around.  I was often touched by how members of staff would find time to talk to us for a few minutes during the day.  Leah left hospital at the beginning of February 1996.

Slowly over some months Leah recovered to full health...... She left school after her A levels and couldn't wait to start work at a local design company where she went from office 'junior' to the manager and director's assistant.  She married Tam in 2010 and had a beautiful daughter who is now 2 years old.  She and her family are presently residing in Florida.

Heartfelt thanks to all staff past and present that have made such a difference to so many people’s lives.

Leah St Marys 001.jpg Leah and Tam Wedding 002.jpg