Britain's oldest person Gladys Hooper has hip replacement at the age of 112
Published 16/10/2015 | 10:36
Britain's oldest person is understood to have set a new world record by having a hip replacement operation at the age of 112.
Gladys Hooper, of Ryde on the Isle of Wight, underwent the surgery after she had a fall and fractured her hip.
Her son, Derek Hermiston, 84, said the operation had gone "splendidly" and had given his mother a "new lease of life".
He said: "She fell at 7 o'clock one morning when she was getting out of bed to go to the loo, her leg gave out and she fell.
"I think she is the oldest person in the world to have a hip operation and the surgeon, Jason Millington, and the anaesthetist were both courageous to take the decision to operate on someone of that age but the operation went splendidly."
Mr Hermiston said that his mother was recovering well after the operation which took place last Friday.
He said: "She is standing but not walking yet, they are taking it rather carefully with her as you never know what happens at that age. She listens to music and she's chatting away."
The Guinness World Records currently lists John Randall as the oldest person to have a total hip replacement at the age of 102 years, three months and 30 days at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in November 2011.
Mrs Hooper was born in Dulwich, south east London, and was brought up in Rottingdean, Brighton, East Sussex, and went on to become a concert pianist, started one of the first hire car companies and later ran Kingscliff House School which went on to become Brighton College.
Mr Millington, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, who performed the operation at St Mary's Hospital in Newport, said he understood the operation on "this amazing lady" was the "oldest documented case worldwide".
He said: "Mrs Hooper's recovery has been slow but steady. We know from evidence that very elderly patients take longer to recover from surgery partly due to the reasons stated above. Her recovery is as well as I could have hoped for but by no means is she 'out of the woods' so to speak and we really have to wait and see how she continues to recover. The first month will be the most crucial.
"I have had correspondence since the surgery to suggest that not only is Mrs Hooper the oldest patient in the UK to have had hip fracture surgery, but possibly the oldest documented case worldwide.
"However, the point is this. Nothing I or my team have done has been significantly different to what we do for any patient with this injury. The only thing that makes this interesting and unique is Mrs Hooper. I therefore feel the focus should be on this amazing lady and we should all be willing her to make a full and uneventful recovery."
Mr Millington said that age was not a "risk in itself" when carrying out such surgery but every effort was made to reduce stress on her system.
He explained: "No surgical procedure comes without risk attached and most decisions to operate are based on a risk:benefit ratio, after a discussion with the patient and their relatives. Therefore, if the benefits of having surgery outweigh the risks associated with the procedure, then usually it would make sense to operate. This is even more the case in the emergency situation such as hip fracture surgery.
"The option of not operating would entail an extended period of bed rest with great discomfort for the patient and a likely gradual decline in health with poor prospects for survival, especially so in the more elderly age group.
"The risks of surgery, and just as important anaesthesia, therefore can be justified. Age, however is not a risk in itself but more a marker that the patient is likely to have significant other health problems. As this particular patient has even made it to the age she has, by definition her health is much better than average.
"The real problem in the extreme elderly age group is that the patient's physiological reserve (ie. the ability to compensate for the additional demand on their bodily functions such as breathing and heart rate) is very low or even non-existent.
"Therefore, all effort must be made during the operation to minimise extra stress on these systems. It therefore made sense for the most senior surgeon to perform the operation. For my part I did very little different to what I would normally do. I did make a decision to cement the prosthesis in place but did not pressurise this as much as normal."
A spokesman for Guinness World Records said: "In regards to Gladys Hooper, we would welcome a record application from a member of her family who could provide further information on her surgery so we can investigate the claim further."