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Gravesend teenager Vinne Marshall could face amputation after cancelled operation

By Chris Hunter

A Gravesend teenager could face amputation after the NHS cancelled an operation to restore movement in his arm.

Vinnie Marshall, 18, of Church Road, near Cobham, underwent 15 hours of surgery as he battled for his life in an induced coma, after crashing his moped on loose gravel near Bluewater in May 2016.

Vinnie Marshall is still waiting for an operation to help him regain the use of his arm after a crash in 2016
Vinnie Marshall is still waiting for an operation to help him regain the use of his arm after a crash in 2016

Despite several operations the former Northfleet Technology College student was left without the use of his right arm, and could only pin his hopes on specialist "Free Muscle Transplant" surgery.

But those hopes were dashed when the operation was cancelled a week before its scheduled date in November last year, and now his family are desperately trying to raise the £45,000 needed to have the op done privately.

Vinnie Marshall with his family, including mum Anita (far right)
Vinnie Marshall with his family, including mum Anita (far right)

Mum Anita said the surgery would change his life.

"He would be able to live a normal life - go to work, drive a car, things like that," she said. "He's not working now. He had just started working with his dad at the time - he'd left school and was going into the building trade.

"In summer last year we were told he was finally on this waiting list. He was due to have surgery in November but we got a phone call a week before to say the NHS had cut funding.

Anita Marshall is appealing for help after the NHS cancelled her son's operation
Anita Marshall is appealing for help after the NHS cancelled her son's operation

"They offered him an amputation or he would have to cope with his arm dangling."

"He would be registered disabled - which will then out a drain on the government as he would have to claim disability allowance. If he has a normal life and works for another 50 years he will pay back to society."

And she added: "When we told him the news he went to rock bottom, because the operation was something he could focus on and look forward to. When we told him it wasn't happening he got depressed. He won't go out, he's not seeing his friends, he's completely withdrawn.

"With the start of this fundraising we've seen a change, but it's a long way to go.

Prior to his accident Vinnie had enjoyed travelling the country with his dad Lance, who is a keen motocross racer, and Anita hopes that the racing community might also back their cause.

Vinnie Marshall with dad Lance
Vinnie Marshall with dad Lance

"It's a big part of his life," she added. "Now he can't get on his bike and support his dad.

"It's such a difficult time."

Supporters can donate money to the operation via the family's Just Giving site.

Tony Higgins, communications manager of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust said: "The consultant surgeon that intended to perform the surgery left RNOH on December 31 2017. This particular surgery is highly specialised and there was a waiting list. All patients waiting for this surgery were informed that the consultant was leaving.

"Commissioners (CCGs and NHS England Specialised Commissioning) were also informed. With the departure of the consultant surgeon, the RNOH is no longer able to offer this specialist service. At this time, we understand the consultant surgeon has not taken up another position within the NHS. Commissioner decisions are required about how this service is commissioned going forward."

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