Widow counts family cost of hip replacement

Discomfort: Maureen Piras suffered metal poisoning from her hip. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Discomfort: Maureen Piras suffered metal poisoning from her hip. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

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Maureen Piras had her husband to take care of her when she had her first hip replacement.

But she is still haunted by the fact she had to put Giovanni into a nursing home when it was her turn to care for him.

A faulty second hip replacement about five years ago meant she couldn't care for her husband, who was by this stage showing signs of dementia.

"It was the worst thing in my life that I've had to do," the Berkeley woman said yesterday.

Mrs Piras had a DePuy hip implanted about five years ago.

"I had it done but when I had to have the review with the doctors, the second review, I saw the specialist and he told me about how he would have to do blood tests because of some problems," the Berkeley grandmother said.

"I found I had quite a high amount of chromium and cobalt in my blood, which wasn't very good," she said.

"So a few months after that, about less than six months, I was back in hospital to have that hip replaced."

Mrs Piras, 78, worries about the "unknown".

"You just don't know the outcome of all this. Anything else that I've had wrong with me, who knows what that has been caused by.

"You don't know if that's a result of the metals in my blood.

"The last time I saw the specialist it was still too high. It doesn't go out of my system that quickly.

"He said it was much too high - you just have to wait, it's just one of those things. It's metal, you don't want that floating around in your system."

But the worst thing "to come out of this ordeal" is the regret she feels about not being able to care for her husband Giovanni in his final years.

"I wouldn't be able to look after him any more. I never wanted that.

"But I wouldn't have been able to look after him anyway. Having that operation done, you don't know how you are going to be afterwards.

"After the first time it was quite some time - he was having to look after me.

"But he got dementia.

"Unfortunately my husband died last year - I don't think anybody wants to put a relative in a nursing home - he should have been in his own home.

"The home was all prepared for his condition - I had it arranged to suit his condition. These are the things that really sadden me about the whole episode.

"Giovanni was 82 when he died.

"He was in there almost two years - tough two years - it was sad for my daughters, granddaughters, very very sad for them."

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