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Great-gran watches royal wedding while having ankle surgery at Walsall Manor

By David Cosgrove | Walsall | News | Published:

A great-grandmother from the Black Country had a unique viewpoint for the royal wedding – watching the ceremony as she went under the knife at hospital.

Jean Smith in the operating theatre at Walsall Manor Hospital

Jean Smith viewed the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the operating theatre at Walsall Manor Hospital.

When the royal fan fell downstairs and suffered the broken ankle she feared she was going to miss out on the event of the year, given it clashed with her surgery.

But staff at the hospital were determined 80-year-old Jean wouldn't miss the magical moment – and streamed the event on a monitor while her surgeon did his work.

Jean was delighted to watch her favourite royal Prince Harry

Jean, from Rushall, said: “I was so disappointed because I really wanted to watch the wedding and Prince Harry is my favourite royal."

However, operating theatre staff Diane Shaw, Mike Richardson, Stephen Coyne and Dan Lal had other ideas.

They streamed the event on a monitor next to Jean while surgeon Mr Mohammed Arif worked away.

The staff also made her an impromptu hat and gave her a flag to wave.

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The happy couple

Jean, who is now recovering well, said: “I wouldn’t have thought it was possible – they went above, beyond and then some for me and I couldn’t be more grateful if I tried."

She fell down stairs at her home on Friday and was booked in for her operation on Saturday.

Jean said: “I was fortunate in that I could have a spinal rather than be put to sleep, as the lovely anaesthetist Dr Sumant Shanbhag explained to me.

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“So I ended up with the surgeons working away on my ankle behind a screen and I managed to watch all of the wedding quite happily.

"The theatre staff kept checking on me but other than me being aware of some movement I didn’t feel anything. And I’m so happy that I saw the wedding.

“My favourite parts were watching Meghan walk down the aisle, seeing Prince Harry lift her veil and when they both came on to the steps and kissed.

“I really want to thank the theatre staff for everything they did for me. They didn’t just fix my ankle, they cared about me as a person and what was important to me.

"I am full of praise for the Manor Hospital and want everyone to know how fantastic the staff are.”

Lisa Faulkner, theatre co-ordinator, said: “We just couldn’t let Jean miss the wedding – where there’s a will there’s a way.

"We work hard to give our patients a positive experience while they’re under our care and we’re delighted at Jean’s kind words.

"We wish her all the very best in her recovery.”

David Cosgrove

By David Cosgrove
Chief Reporter - @davidcosgrove_

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