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Jerry’s story

Jerry was referred to us after he was hit by a car in October 2020. Sadly Jerry’s face had been badly damaged by the accident; he had a number of fractures to his lower jaw and temporomandibular joint (which connects the jawbone to the skull) plus severe damage to his eyes. 

Upon arrival at the hospital, Jerry was looked after by our Emergency + Critical Care (ECC) team. He was given fluids and strong pain relief to help make him comfortable whilst we performed an initial assessment. Due to the severity of his injuries Jerry found it hard to breathe at times so our team of ECC nurses monitored him around the clock. 

Once Jerry was well enough, he had a CT (computed tomography) scan to understand more about his trauma. The CT scan revealed the true nature and location of the facial fractures and identified some swelling and internal bleeding in the surrounding tissues which was caused by the accident. To treat Jerry’s injuries, our ECC team sought input from our Orthopaedic and Ophthalmology teams.

Our Ophthalmology team assessed Jerry’s eyes and found his right eye had no retinal function at all. Sadly Jerry was blind in this eye. Given the extent of the damage, the difficult decision was made to have the eye removed.

Jerry’s left eye was in better shape than his right eye, but there was nerve damage and a corneal ulcer (open sore). Because of the nerve damage Jerry was unable to close his eye and blink properly. Recovery following nerve damage is a gradual process and can take some time so to help with the ulcer and keep his eye lubricated during this time Jerry was given some topical medications. 

Unlike a broken leg, which can be fixed with plates and pins, fractures to the face, jaw and skull are not straightforward. Following a thorough examination Jerry underwent surgery with our Orthopaedic team. Surgery involved fitting a wire and BEARD (bi-gnathic encircling and retaining device) to hold Jerry’s mouth in a semi-closed position. The wire and device keep the fractured bones in position to allow them to heal correctly. Whilst under anaesthetic Jerry’s right eye was also removed by the Ophthalmology team. Following surgery Jerry stayed in our Cat Ward for six days for close monitoring whilst he recovered.

Handsome Jerry with his feeding tube in our Cat Ward


Jerry in our Cat Ward with our Cat Nurse, Suzanne

Jerry’s road to recovery would require a slow and steady recuperation at home. His carers learned how to use and maintain his feeding tube (as he could not open his mouth to eat solid food) and how to give him his medications. They did a brilliant job, as Jerry was soon back to his usual bouncy and playful self. Six weeks after the surgery Jerry revisited The Ralph to have the wire and BEARD removed, along with his feeding tube. 

Jerry was able to eat by himself again, and started with soft, watery food before progressing on to wet canned/pouched foods. His favourite was white fish with a little water added! Almost 12-months later Jerry still struggles to eat dry food, and requires his face to be cleaned every day but thanks to his devoted carers he is a healthy and happy boy. See some gorgeous home photos below…

Thank you for taking the time to read Jerry’s story. For regular patient stories, check out our FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

Take care,

Team Ralph

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