So close and now so far ...

TAMWORTH man David Rasmussen lives with constant pain.

He needs knee replacements in both legs and up until a few months ago, thought he’d be enjoying the benefits of that surgery before Christmas.

Those hopes were dashed though when Mr Rasmussen received a letter late last year from orthopaedic surgeon Dr Robert Sharpe saying his contract with Tamworth hospital wouldn’t be renewed, meaning he was unable to fulfill his surgical obligations to his patients.

Mr Rasmussen, 63, must now go onto a 12-month waiting list for surgery at Tamworth hospital – devastating news for him and wife Shirley.

“David’s a motor mechanic and on his feet all day and this is affecting his work,” Mrs Rasmussen told The Leader.

“He’d been planning on retirement in two years but now I don’t know if he’ll even reach that.”

After receiving Dr Sharpe’s letter they phoned Tamworth hospital and were told the hospital was recruiting two more orthopaedic surgeons but there would still be a 12-month waiting list.

While they wait they’ve pursued other options, such as surgery in Armidale, but Mrs Rasmussen said with only one surgeon there they were probably looking at a similar timeframe.

Going to Sydney was also a consideration, but far from ideal given the distance and time away from home.

In the meantime, Mr Rasmussen is on strong medication for help with his physical pain but the mental anguish from being so close to surgery and then being told it was a year away was harder to treat.

“He’s in continuous pain day and night,” Mrs Rasmussen said.

“And now (after being told of the surgery delay) he feels some days like there’s no hope.”

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