“Look no hands” – brave Jessica takes her first steps


A SCOTS girl who was disabled at birth by bungling midwives is making “amazing” progress following pioneering surgery in the US.

Jessica Penny, five, cannot keep the smile of her face after taking her first unaided steps following surgery on her spine.

The girl from Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, was starved of oxygen after midwives Lyn Foy and Donna Jack missed numerous health checks during her delivery.

Jessica was left with cerebral palsy, a vocabulary of six words, and could only get about using leg braces or walking sticks.

A physiotherapist shows that Jessica is walking by herself
A physiotherapist shows that Jessica is walking by herself


Her parents, Lynne and Colin Penny, raised £85,000 to fly Jessica to Saint Louis, Missouri, for the dorsal rhizotomy operation.

Just two weeks after the delicate procedure, the proud couple posted footage of a smiling Jessica taking her first unaided steps on a treadmill. At one stage, the physiotherapist makes a big “no hands” gesture.

Lynne and Colin posted on Jessica’s fundraising Facebook page: “Jessica doing some lovely walking on treadmill. Check out how big my steps are!

“After Jessica not standing for us she surprises us at physio by doing this – pretty amazed to say the least.”

The couple also pay tribute to Dr TS Park, the surgeon who has transformed the lives of numerous youngsters by carrying out the dorsal rhizotomy.

They posted: “The miracle man Dr Park who changed Jessica’s life forever.

“Thank you Dr Park for your dedication to medicine and to improving children’s lives. You are amazing and we are eternally grateful.”

Jessica gets a hug from Dr TS Park
Jessica gets a hug from Dr TS Park


The family hope the surgery will successfully reverse the symptoms of Jessica’s cerebral palsy

The operation involved cutting damaged nerves from Jessica’s spine which will help increase mobility in her muscles.

Jessica made national headlines last year when the extent of her disabilities was revealed at a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing into the actions of Foy and Jack, who were struck off.

Lynne described what happened to her daughter at the Princess Royal Maternity Unit, Glasgow, on August 27, 2007, as an “assault”.

She said her daughter has been left needing constant care while she herself required counselling and anti-depressants.

Lynne told the hearing: “She can’t stand on her own. She can crawl and pull herself up on furniture. She wears splints on both feet every day.

“It was meant to be one of the happiest days of our lives but it has turned into a tragic event. It has made considering having another child very traumatic.

“My baby was compromised in the womb and after her birth by these two women. In our opinion, they harmed Jessica to the point of assault.

Lyn Foy admitted failing to check the foetal heart rate during labour, failing to keep proper records and failing to contact a doctor when she noticed Jessica was in a poor condition.

The NMC said Foy, who now works in a drug crisis unit in Glasgow, had a previously unblemished 22-year career, was very “traumatised” by what had happened, and remorseful.

Jack, a registered midwife since December 1989, failed to ensure observations during labour, failed to keep records and failed to call for a doctor when baby Jessica was found in a poor condition.

She also failed to communicate effectively with other team members, failed to take adequate steps to resuscitate the baby and failed to commence the resuscitation until Jessica was three minutes old.