A golf-loving British expat has been left paralysed from the chest down after a reputedly routine operation went tragically wrong. Jan Atack, a former Squadron Leader in the RAF, went into a private hospital in Malaga in October 2018 for an operation to free a trapped nerve in her shoulder. However, when she came out of the operating theatre she was on a ventilator and paralysed from the chest down. After weeks of intensive care she was transferred to the specialist spinal unit of the Hospital Nacional de Paraplejicos in Toledo, where she has been undergoing therapy. The hospital is renowned for the treatment of spinal cord injuries and is often compared to the National Spinal Injuries Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the UK.
Jan has been an active and talented sportswoman all her life and prior to the operation, she was fit and healthy, with many activity-based interests.
Jan and husband Keith moved to Alhaurín el Grande in 2004, and here they indulged in their mutual love of golf. They joined the Lauro Golf Club and became high-profile and much-loved members, but now it looks as though Jan’s golfing days are over.
Jan has since been taken off the ventilator, but remains almost completely incapacitated from the chest down. She was discharged from the hospital later at the end of June and in order to rebuild her life, she will need a great deal of help and support. Friends and associates at the Lauro Golf Club have started a Go Fund Me campaign (Jan Atack Appeal Fund) to raise money to fund a range of equipment and services Jan needs now that she has returned to her home in Alhaurín El Grande.
Campaign manager Richard Joss explained that Jan will need specialist equipment like a computer that can be controlled without the use of hands, an electric stand-and-tilt wheelchair and a specially adapted vehicle, along home alterations and full-time care.
“This is such a tragic situation, Jan is a very athletic person and she is well respected at the golf club. We want to provide full-time care when she returns home, at least until an alternative source of funding can be found. The equipment and specialist services are expensive and represent a serious financial challenge, but remain vital to Jan’s future health and well-being,” he said.
Legal experts are currently reviewing the case to establish if the hospital is liable for malpractice.