Amputees and Queen Mary’s Hospital

Double amputees at Roehampton Hospital

Workers at Roehampton Limb Centre

Roehampton Limb Centre

Roehampton Hospital during WWI

Rachida El Zihi

The rehabilitation of amputees has been an established service at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton for over ninety years. The history of Queen Mary’s began with the rehabilitation of service personnel who had lost limbs during World War I and amputee rehabilitation has continued to be a service at the hospital ever since. In 2006, the Douglas Bader Rehabilitation Centre – named after Douglas Bader, the RAF pilot who lost both his legs in World War II – was created within the new Queen Mary’s Hospital and provides a specialised multidisciplinary service to amputees from south west London and the region extending to the borders of Surrey and Sussex.

FiSH member and volunteer, Rachida Ez-Zihi, grew up in Morocco and had her left leg amputated above the knee at the age of 7 due to a severe infection following a fall. To begin with Rachida managed on crutches for 3 years until being fitted with a ‘peg leg’, which she wore for 5 years. “My dream was to be able to wear a pair of shoes together!” she says. An English teacher working in the university in Casablanca, along with the Franciscan nuns at her school, paid for Rachida to come to London and get a prosthetic leg at the world famous Roehampton limb unit. To date Rachida, who now lives in Barnes, has had 12 different legs. “Every individual has a tailor made leg – with most costing £10,000 or more.” She is grateful to the limb centre for their pioneering work and assistance which allows her to be more independent.