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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 20:37 GMT 21:37 UK
'First walk in 50 years'
Patricia Malbon
The surgery has removed years of pain, for Mrs Malbon
A rare operation has given a Cambridgeshire woman the chance to walk properly for the first time in more than 50 years.

Patricia Malbon was left with one leg two and a half inches longer than the other after an attack of tuberculosis in infancy.

Three operations had failed to correct the problem but work to extend tissues in her left leg has finally given back much of her mobility.

Mrs Malbon, 56, from Peterborough, persevered with the operations despite the fact there was a high risk it could have made her problems worse.

Constant pain

The tuberculosis had attacked her hip, meaning she was only able to walk a few steps in great pain and was unable to put any real weight on her right leg.

Mrs Malbon said: "It was difficult doing everyday things.

"Vacuuming - gardening even - were hard work.

"After the operation the first thing my son said was: "Mum your eyes are different".

"I think that pain shows in your face and eyes and to be released from it makes a world of difference."

The surgery carried significant chance it could make a sufferer's condition worse.

'Difficult decision'

Surgeon Ahmed Shair said: "It was very risky because her (Mrs Malbon) bones are under developed.

"If we went wrong with the operation or we couldn't achieve what we wanted to do, she could have ended with an even shorter leg than she had before with even less movement.

"Of course her quality of life would have suffered further and it was a difficult decision for her to make."

The work was done at a private hospital in Leicester.


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07 Mar 02 | England
12 Dec 01 | Health
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