‘Dr Magic’ gave me my life back

Ricky OConnor
Ricky O'Connor

A man who spent his pension getting a surgical procedure corrected has thanked Northwick Park surgeon Alberto Martinez-Isla for ‘giving him his life back.’

Ricky O’Connor, 55, endured six years of discomfort after being repeatedly told nothing could be done after the failed fundoplication procedure at another hospital to correct gastro oesophageal reflux disease.

The condition is caused by a faulty valve which allows stomach acid to wash into the oesophagus and throat causing heartburn and other problems.

Mr O’Connor’s stomach was pushed up into his chest after it tore through his diaphragm while lifting something at work. As a result, he began struggling for breath, suffering from a permanently dry throat and blackouts.

Mr O’Connor said: “The procedure didn’t work and I spend the next few years being told nothing more could be done. I just accepted the original consultant’s word. I mean you would, wouldn’t you? It got to a point where I really thought I would be better off dead.

In desperation the self-employed plumber sought a second opinion and Mr Isla-Martinez agreed to take him on as a private patient.

The three hour procedure, known as redo-fundoplication, involves first putting the anatomy back into its original position and then wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the outside of the oesophagus to strengthen the sphincter muscle controlling the valve.  

Mr O’Connor said: “I can’t thank Alberto enough regardless of the fact that I had to privately pay for the procedure. I call him Mr Magic because he gave me my life back.

Alberto says the condition is commoner than people think with up to a third of the population experiencing it. Surgery is only required in the most extreme cases.

“Mr O’Connor has clearly suffering and endured considerable discomfort over a period of years. My advice to anyone not happy with a medical diagnosis is to always get a second opinion.

“It’s your health at the end of the day and you should never feel awkward or embarrassed by going elsewhere. I’m just glad I could help.”

For more information, please contact Steve Watkins on 020 8869 2235 or email steve.watkins1@nhs.net