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16th Jun, 2021

Fresh blow in Rachel’s fight for life

Rob George 5th May, 2021

A FORMER Worcester mum has been dealt a fresh blow in her fight for life after vital life-saving surgery to tackle a complex range of issues had failed.

Rachel Pighills, 35, suffers from atlantoaxial instability, which means her spine partially dislocates each time she turns her head to the left, increasing her risk of paralysis. Should it fully dislocate, Rachel will die.

The Observer reported in October 2019 on Rachel and her husband Guy’s desperate race to fund the £135,000 needed for life-saving surgery in Barcelona.

In January 2020, Rachel underwent an Occipital Spinal Fusion with Posterior Fossa Decompression in the UK. Whilst Rachel’s situation initially seemed promising at the time, her health rapidly began to deteriorate.

Heartbreakingly, it has now emerged her surgery had failed and the painkillers were merely suppressing her central nervous system and masking the symptoms.

Rachel now needs to undergo a combination of consecutive and very complex brain and spinal surgeries, to save her life.

Dr Paolo Bolognese, is a leading neurosurgeon based in New York, and is the only neurosurgeon in the world who is experienced and willing to help Rachel, as the complexities of her case have progressed.

She has seen top specialists all over the country but unfortunately, none of them are able to help her.

Dr Bolognese and his surgical team, will need to place her into an induced coma, and initially perform a Odontoidectomy trans-orally.

This procedure involves shaving down the bone in her skull cavity and compressing on her Brainstem, which will relieve the compression.

“This is where we need your help. We need to raise £350,000 so we can pay to get Rachel to New York safely via air ambulance and undergo the surgeries and treatment she so desperately needs to save her life,” devasted husband Guy said.

“Rachel is suffering every day and her deterioration is rapid. She is in constant pain, due to there being minimal bone grafting over the fusion so the metalwork is fatigued and bending. The surgeries are high risk, but without them Rachel will die.

“Time is crucial as Rachel is now in respiratory failure and has developed a severe Baroreceptor deficit due to the compression on her brainstem.

“Her respiratory centres that are located in her brainstem, could turn off at any time leading to brainstem death.”

The plea for help comes nearly four years after Rachel first ill, though the gravity of her situation was only fully revealed in July 2019.

Anyone with fund-raising ideas or who is able to get in touch to help the devoted couple in their hour of need is asked to get in touch via their ‘Rachel’s Fight for Life’ Facebook page.

Visit www.gofundme.com/f/q8tc99-rachels-fight-for-life for more.

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