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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > 100 year old Rita praises staff at the Cumberland Infirmary after life-saving surgery

100 year old Rita praises staff at the Cumberland Infirmary after life-saving surgery

Posted on Wednesday 19th March 2014
rita carruthers

L-R Tanya Lee (ward manager), Mr Fraser Smith (consultant surgeon), Rita Carruthers, Mandy Daines (physio technician) and Whitney Cannon (physiotherapist)

A 100 year-old patient from Cleator Moor, West Cumbria has said ‘she couldn’t fault’ the care she has received following life-saving surgery in the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle last week.

Rita Carruthers, who turned 100 on 29 January this year, was taken into hospital by her daughter who lives in Carlisle on Sunday 9 March when she started experiencing pain which she said was identical to her ongoing gall bladder pains.

When she was examined by consultant colorectal surgeon Mr Fraser Smith, however, he decided to send Rita for a CT scan as he was concerned that there may have been an area in her bowel that looked abnormal. After close monitoring and consideration, Mr Smith and his consultant colleague, Mr Simon Raimes took the decision together to operate on Mrs Carruthers.

Fraser Smith said: “I was the consultant surgeon on-call and I decided to get a second consultant opinion as it is extremely high risk to operate on a lady of Mrs Carruther’s age and the findings on the scan were far from conclusive”. We decided to go ahead with the operation as it became clear that her condition would have become critical without surgery.

“Mr Raimes carried out the bowel operation on Monday 10 March and although Rita was in a critical condition for the first few days after her surgery, she made a strong recovery thanks to the excellent care she has received from the medical, nursing and physiotherapy teams on the ward. She is up and mobile and will be ready for discharge in the next couple of days which is incredible. Rita’s catchphrase is ‘I’m bouncing’ and she certainly has bounced back over the past week.”

Rita wanted to talk about her time in hospital, saying: “I couldn’t fault the care I have had and that’s the truth – I don’t tell lies!

“I owe a lot to Mr Smith and his team. I feel almost back to normal now and can go back to doing my own baking and cooking at home where I live with my son. I like to be very independent.”

Mr Simon Raimes said: “This is an excellent example of joined-up working between our surgeons, anaesthetists, the nursing team, physiotherapists, Rita herself and also her family - by working together we have achieved the best possible outcome.

“It is a truly remarkable team effort for a very special centenarian and we wish Rita all the best for the future”