Network Norwich and Norfolk > People > Date set for life-changing operation in Norwich

AdelaidaJohnNolan750Date set for life-changing operation in Norwich 

A Catholic Norwich surgeon’s plan to operate for free on a young Tanzanian health care worker to restore the use of her legs has overcome bureaucratic red tape and seen her fly to the UK with a date now set for the life-changing operation.

John Nolan, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and parishioner at St John’s Catholic Cathedral, met 23-year-old Adelaida during a recent visit to Tanzania thanks to his uncle Fr Francis who has been a Catholic missionary priest there for 50 years.

John said: “Adelaida was training as a healthcare assistant but is now unable to work or even walk very far as her hips have been badly damaged by Sickle Cell Disease. There is no suitable option for surgery in Mwanza and I offered to replace her hips for free, here in Norwich.

“The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital has agreed to allow me to carry out her surgery as a privately-funded patient and some of our wonderful theatre nurses, and two of my consultant colleagues, have offered to work for free to help me.”

But the plan hit red tape with Adelaida’s visa to travel refused and the operation date in May was cancelled. After appealing through Norfolk MP Richard Bacon and immigration minister Caroline Nokes, John learnt, out of the blue, that the visa refusal had been overturned and the plan was back on again and a family from St John’s was found to provide accommodation for Adelaida.

John said: “Adelaida had to be accompanied by my uncle Francis on the KLM flight as she might require supplementary oxygen. She has now settled in with her host family in Norwich and last week she spent three days at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital having assessments and tests as well as hip x-rays. Her surgery is now scheduled to take place on Sunday June 17 and arrangements seem to be proceeding well.”

John’s fundraising efforts are also going well and nearly £7000 of the £10,000 needed has been raised to help meet Adelaida’s hospital costs. You can donate here or contact John at

You can also hear John talk about Operation Adelaida on Thursday June 7 at 7.30pm in St John’s Cathedral Narthex in an evening hosted by the Norwich Justice and Peace Group.

Pictured above are surgeon John Nolan and Adelaida together in Norwich.

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