Orthopaedic Surgeon with Osteoarthritis of Knees
A 55-year old Orthopaedic surgeon, who was previously a rugby player and skier, had a history of anterior cruciate ligament repair in the right knee and a meniscectomy in the left knee. He now complained of morning stiffness in both knees, restrictions walking distances and pain using stairs. He was taking only paracetamol for pain relief. X rays confirmed moderate osteoarthritis of both knees. After discussion with a colleague it was agreed it was better to delay total knee replacement for few years.
The surgeon specialises in knee surgery and takes part in on call rota for trauma. Works over 2 sites. No problem driving and uses lifts in hospitals.
His main concern was about moving patients’ limbs when preparing for surgery. Previously porters held limbs while the area for surgery was being cleaned but they were no longer doing this due to staffing reductions. He also had some difficulty moving limbs and using arthroscope during knee surgery as the number of scrub nurses had been reduced in theatre. He can usually sit during arthroscopic surgery, but with additional need to support limb also has to stand more.
Occupational Health Advice
- Advise that due to restrictions on mobility having substantial effect on activities of daily living, likely that his knee conditions would be considered disabilities under the meaning of the Equality Act 2010 and reasonable adjustments should be considered.
- Advise assistance required to hold limb while preparing for surgery. Management agreed that a nurse from adjacent theatre can be called in to assist when necessary as well as making porters available to assist patient preparation.
- Advise split lists, instead of all day lists, to minimise operating to half days each day.