Man with leg amputated still in wheeled commode instead of wheelchair six months after operation

Jim Frith's sits in wheeled commode with amputated leg
-Credit: (Image: Tamara Given)

A Leicester man who had his leg amputated last December was given a wheeled commode to get from room to room as his bungalow was too narrow for a wheelchair. Half a year later - and beyond frustrated with his limited mobility - his partner, Tamara Given, said "you would never keep a dog like this".

Jim Frith, who lives on Tarbat Road, in Thurnby Lodge, was discharged on Boxing Day. Ms Given, who herself has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and spinal issues, said occupational health issued Mr Frith with the commode as a "short term fix" so he could move from one room to another. But she said that was nearly six months ago.

Ms Given said they needed help from housing to move to a more suitable property and she needed help from adult social care as she was his only carer. They had not even had a follow up appointment since his operation, she added. She said: "It’s tiring, nobody’s listening and we have really had enough now. We need help."

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A spokesperson for the city council said they had put Mr Frith on the highest priority category for rehousing and in the meantime a housing officer would meet up with the couple to discuss other options. They said adult social care and occupational therapy would also look at interim measures.

Ms Given spoke to LeicestershireLive on behalf of Mr Frith. She said: "My partner had his leg amputated in December last year, and then he got discharged on Boxing Day. Occupational health came to check if it was safe enough for him to be here. They weren’t overly happy because the bungalow is very narrow.

"We are living in a bungalow which is not adequate for his need. I can't get his wheelchair into the house unless it is folded. Occupational health issued him with a commode as a short term fix so he could slide himself from one room to the next. But this is getting on for six months now.

"I can only get him out in the garden through the back door. Then I have to push him to the front on the commode to get him into a car. Other than that, he’s just sitting here, he can’t do nothing. You would never keep a dog like this.

"Six months we have been like this, something has to change now. My partner has to sleep on a couch bed in the front room as he can't get access to the bedroom. He also suffers from lots of blood clots. The wound on his leg has just started to heal now, it’s been so many months.

"He cannot go to physio yet because of the infection in it. He should have been going within three months, once the wound healed. But because it is an ongoing thing and he’s not even had the follow up appointment from hospital. He’s only had appointments for his blood clots. It was only when we contacted them they did more scans, he has had to contact the amputee centre, they have supplied him with no help.

"We have lived here for seven years, we really like it here but Jim cannot live here any more - that is the issue. I suffer with severe COPD and spinal issues and I can’t lift him or nothing. If he is out and about in his wheelchair, I am pushing him and my consultant says you can’t. It is tiring, nobody’s listening and we have really had enough now. We need help."

A city council spokesman said: “We have put Mr Frith in our highest priority category for rehousing which is Band 1. Unfortunately, fully wheelchair-accessible properties are in very limited supply, which means that even in Band 1 there will be a wait until a property becomes available.

“A housing officer is due to meet Mr Frith and his wife next week to discuss any other options that might be available. A visit has also been arranged by a member of the adult social care team and an occupational therapist to look at any interim measures that could be put in place to help him in his current home. “

A spokesperson for University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said: "The communications team cannot provide comments on patients or deal with this type of enquiry. I'd recommend for the patient to first get in touch with the outpatient booking centre.

"There is also our confidential patient advice and liaison service (PALS) that supports patients to resolve issues and address concerns." Contact details have been provided to Mr Frith.