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Aberdeenshire charity boss struck down by mystery illness home after spending 862 nights in hospital

A charity boss left paralysed by a mystery illness is finally home – after 862 nights in hospital.

Robin Maitland underwent surgery to remove a benign tumour on his spine in December 2014, but when woke up he was unable to feel anything from the chest down.

He spent the next two years in hospital, but now the family’s “dreams have been realised” as he has been allowed home.

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Wife Claire said: “We are absolutely delighted to finally have him home.

“After 862 nights in hospital Robin has at last settled at home.

“He is still bed bound due to severe pressure sores but all he needs to do now is look out the window into the garden, or acknowledge 16 muddy paws and four wagging tails on his bed all at once, to remind himself he is home.”

Although an exact diagnosis has never been pinpointed, medical experts concluded Mr Maitland was suffering from a rare condition which causes the spinal cord to become significantly damaged with no chance of recovery.

The last big milestone in his quest to get out of hospital came on Christmas Day, when he spent a happy seven hours back home in Crathes with his wife and children, Anna, Harry, Cara and Jack, and daughter-in-law Ava.

The couple – who have helped save thousands of lives through their work with the Sandpiper Trust – will spend the next couple of weeks adjusting to life at home, where Mr Maitland still requires round the clock care.

But Mrs Maitland hopes it won’t be long before she can start taking her husband out on day trips to the countryside surrounding their Deeside home with the help of a specially-adapted car.

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She said: “Once he is up in his chair we are going to get him out and about around Aberdeenshire which will be very exciting for him.”

In the meantime, Mrs Maitland said it would be wonderful not having to go to the hospital every day.

She added: “It is such a secure feeling just knowing that finally he is home after all these years.

“We have had lots of people calling to see him already – more than you can imagine.

“Really the community support for Robin and for his family has been just excellent.

“The dogs have also been enjoying taking it in turns to go up and sit on the bed with him.

“I think he is just incredibly relieved to finally be home because I think there were times when he wondered if home was an unachievable goal.”

Mrs Maitland also praised the care her husband had received in hospital from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Glasgow Spinal Unit, Woodend Hospital and Glen O’Dee.

She added: “The nursing and occupational therapy care Robin has received whilst in hospital has been excellent.

“Care and support for both Robin and his family from ARI, Glasgow Spinal Unit, Woodend Hospital and Glen O’Dee Hospital has been hugely appreciated.”