Surgeons save farmer trampled by a bull

Posted on in Services, Staff

James McVie and Joel Dunning

Surgeons James McVie and Joel Dunning

Surgeons at The James Cook University Hospital performed their first rib plating operation to save the life of a farmer who was trampled by a bull.

Derek Thompson, 69, was left fighting for his life with 22 fractured ribs when he was hit by a bull while rounding up his cattle.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Joel Dunning teamed up with orthopaedic surgeon James McVie to perform the hospital’s first rib plating procedure.

Titanium plates were pinned to Mr Thompson’s broken bones to speed up the healing process, alleviate pain and reduce the risk of complications such as breathing difficulties.

Mr Thompson spent three months in intensive care at James Cook but is now back home with his family at his farm in Welbury near Northallerton.

“I would think I was one of the most difficult cases they have ever had to save,” he said.

“Nearly all my ribs were broken, there was not much left. They are now held in place with plates that look like bits of Meccano!

“They are doing a marvellous job, there’s no doubt about that.”

Mr Dunning said: “We now offer rib plating for major fractures and are one of only eight centres nationally doing this.


“This procedure will be a major help to our most critically injured patients and as a major regional trauma centre we estimate that this will help a lot of patients from the whole region, increasing survival rates and reducing their days on the intensive care unit.”
will help future trauma patients.”Mr McVie added: “I’m really pleased that Mr Thompson is recovering well from his major chest injury and surgery. It’s great that we can now offer this surgery here at James Cook as it