I was born with bilateral hip dysplasia

Emma was born in a small town in West Sussex, not too far from Brighton. At birth, she was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia and was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) pretty much straight away. She had her first appointment there when she was six weeks old.

“At six months old I had open reduction surgery to correct my dislocated hips. I was an inpatient at the time and was in a plaster cast for six weeks.

“My mum and dad always said they felt I was in the best place at GOSH. My mum felt there were a lot of parents like her at the hospital, also with young children who were unwell. It helped her in a way, to know there were other parents like her.

“I was under the care of the wonderful Dr Fixsen (or Mr Fixit!) for a good while. He was only there until I was about five years old, but my parents always used to say how nice he was.

“Even though I couldn't walk until I was nearly three years old, I've been fortunate enough to have no lasting orthopaedic problems, apart from aching legs if I've been on my feet for a long period, and have no visible scarring left on my hips.

“I was eventually discharged from GOSH when I was 15 years old, with no adult follow-up needed. I was told before I was discharged that I am likely to need my first hip replacements at a fairly young age, but that's not something I need to think about yet.

Fond memories

“I have very fond memories of the extremely kind doctors and nurses, regular lunches at the (then) Peter Pan café and having fun in the play area. I remember building and painting a cardboard rocket during an inpatient stay, with the Play Assistants, which I loved – I was quite proud of it! And it took my mind off my appointment.

“I enjoyed doing bi-annual 10-mile sponsored walks at secondary school without any problems, and a few years ago did a 5 km charity jog. So, I have a lot to thank the surgeons at GOSH for!

“I graduated from university a few years ago with a degree in Sociology and Social Policy. I now work in a hospital and have my own house. 

“It can be incredibly scary at the time, having many hospital appointments, scans and operations, but things can get better.

“To other children coming to GOSH, I would say don’t worry too much – everyone’s there to make you better, and it’s one of the best places you can be to get better.”