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Jessica is 27 and works in the hospitality industry and after-school care at a primary school. Since September 2022, Jessica has been suffering from an ongoing wound infection after she received an artificial kneecap (meniscus implant).

Jessica had been in a lot of pain for a number of years on her right knee. “I always exercised intensively and as a result, I had weak knees. In particular, my right kneecap was badly damaged. I’ve had surgery before, but without success.” That’s why Jessica was considered last year to participate in a special scientific examination and a meniscus implant was placed. The operation went well, but after a week the stitches opened.

An open wound

The doctors advised Jessica to take rest and not to take any further action so that the wound could heal on its own. Unfortunately, this did not happen. In October, Jessica was hospitalized for a few days so that the wound could be observed. ” At that time, the doctors did not assume that there would be a serious infection. So apart from taking care of the wound and painkillers, I was not given any medication. I had no choice but to wait and see.” After returning home, the wound had been bothering for months. In February of this year, however, a complex bacterial infection was observed. Jessica was operated again and was given medication, but the wound infection persisted. Although the complaints have diminished, the wound has been left like this till this day, still open and painful.

A major limitation

The wound infection is a major limitation for Jessica. “Especially in the first few months, my knee was always red, painful and swollen. Hereby I couldn’t bend and move my knee properly. It was very burdensome.” Jessica had to stop sports training. “I was a diligent student with good grades, but it was impossible to to take my exams. I can’t exercise anymore and I get tired easily.” In addition, she experiences that the infection limited her ability to find a new job. “I now have two part-time jobs, but I would like to have a permanent a job that suits my skills better. I was during the applications always honest about my disability and that I may still be able to undergo a stressful treatment. Although it is never said directly that they reject me because of my disability, but I wonder if this doesn’t play a role after all.”

No solution yet

What Jessica finds very annoying is that there is still a lot of unclarity about her treatment. “We have tried different types of antibiotics, But these didn’t help. With some I had to stop taking because I had an allergic reaction. Others were only able to work for a short period of time. Because of the risks of resistance. I don’t use antibiotics anymore, but I still take painkillers every day.” Jessica finds it’s worrisome and frustrating that there is still no prospect of improvement. “The doctors don’t know now whether the infection is gone. They think that the infection might be in the implant, but that is not yet certain. Soon I will have another appointment again about a new plan of action. I would like to have more research done for a real solution.” But in the In the meantime, Jessica doesn’t want to stand still. I would like to act as an experience expert to make a contribution to improve care.

This story was created with permission from SGF The Netherlands.