Shaun travels from Falklands to Wigan for urgent surgery

Shaun recovering in hospital
Shaun recovering in hospital

After breaking his collarbone in four places, Falkland Islands native Shaun East had few specialist care options available to him at home.

So he flew halfway around the world to receive care from Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust.

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The 14-year-old from Stanley was injured while playing football and was taken to hospital where he received immediate care.

However, surgery was needed and as the small hospital had limited resources, Shaun’s doctors had to seek help elsewhere.

Shaun said: “I went up for a header and the other player was a bit bigger than me. I hit his hip and went tumbling and the next thing I know I was on the ground.

“I reached over and felt my collarbone was sticking out.”

The manager of the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in Stanley made contact with Wrightington Hospital and Rebecca Lyon, deputy director of operations, was only too happy to arrange for the urgent shoulder surgery to take place.

Shaun’s journey to Wigan Infirmary began with a flight from the Falkland Islands to Chile, followed by a transfer in Brazil that took him to Heathrow and a car journey to Wigan.

But due to radio issues with one of the flights, the journey was delayed, with Shaun and his dad Justin arriving in the town five days later.

Justin said: “All the time we were flying over I was really concerned about anyone nudging past Shaun or anything like that, but he just got stuck into a movie on the plane and wasn’t fazed at all.

“When the doctors said we were going to Wigan I had to have a bit of a Google, because even though I was born in the UK, I have lived on the Falkland Islands for 30 years, so I didn’t know exactly where it was – I just knew it was up north!”

On arrival in the UK, Shaun’s surgery took place at Wigan Infirmary, before he was looked after by staff on the rainbow ward.

He has now been discharged, but will have to spend another week in the UK.

Shaun’s surgery was performed at Wigan Infirmary by Puneet Monga, an orthopaedic consultant who specialises in sports injuries and shoulder surgery at Wrightington Hospital.

He said: “It is indeed incredible to see how well Shaun is recovering from surgery after such a circuitous journey.

“As the world is getting smaller with the advances in communication, technology and air transport, we are able to provide levels of care to patients far beyond what would have been possible in the past.

“It provides unique opportunities for centres of excellence such as Wrightington Hospital to offer our services on an international stage.”

He added: “Shaun’s case is illustrative of such potential in future and also highlights the logistical challenges of being able to offer such services to the future surgical patient.”

Shaun said: “Mr Monga went through everything that would happen during my surgery and all of the staff have been brilliant, they have really looked after me and my dad.”