Doctors fail to spot man’s broken back

Father spent 20 years trying to discover what caused excruciating pain after doctors failed to spot he had a BROKEN BACK

Nicky Sutherland was in so much pain he became dependent on morphine
The 42-year-old was finally seen by surgeon Manoj Krishna
Mr Krishna works at Nuffield Health Tees Hospital in Stockton-Upon-Tees
Mr Sutherland underwent a life-changing operation and is back playing golf

PUBLISHED: 21:07, 9 June 2013 | UPDATED: 21:09, 9 June 2013

A father-of-two spent almost half his life in excruciating pain only to discover he had a broken back.

Despite numerous appointments, X-rays, MRI scans and operations over 20 years, doctors failed to diagnose Nicky Sutherland.

The 42-year-old was in so much pain, he became dependent on morphine patches and a cocktail of 44 tablets which almost drove him to suicide.

‘It left me tired all the time and, with the morphine, I was like a zombie. I was missing my kids growing up,’ said Mr Sutherland, who was once a super-fit skier and keen golfer.

‘My wife Gillian couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I was having serious problems at work, getting disciplinarians and I was very depressed.

‘I’d reached a point where I didn’t want to go on any more.

‘My life was so bad, I thought about committing suicide.’

By chance, his wife’s parents read about a consultant spinal surgeon in a magazine in a coffee shop in Majorca.

The surgeon, Manoj Krishna, worked at Nuffield Health Tees Hospital and had helped a woman suffering from similar problems.

Soon Mr Sutherland, who has two daughters Aimee, 14, and Emma, 10, was making the 160-mile journey south to Stockton-upon-Tees for his first consultation with Mr Krishna, which turned out to be a life-changing meeting.

‘He discovered the bottom right hand screw of the structure in my back had snapped and I had technically been running around with a broken back,’ said Mr Sutherland.

‘He couldn’t put a date on when it happened, but he looked at me, then at my wife, and said “I can fix your husband”.
‘I went over and hugged him. He was so positive and made me think for the first time that there was hope.’

Mr Sutherland is supporting Nuffield Health’s awareness campaign against prescription painkiller dependency.

He has also played his first game of golf a decade and skied for the first time in 14 years.

Slowly, Mr Sutherland is also being weaned off the painkillers. He said: ‘I couldn’t have got to this point without Mr Krishna, who was my saviour. I have my life back and it is amazing.’

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