Limerick schoolgirl ‘devastated’ after scoliosis operation is cancelled

Surgery, scheduled for next week, has been cancelled for a schoolgirl whose crippling scoliosis condition forced Minister for Health Simon Harris to admit he was ashamed.

Limerick schoolgirl ‘devastated’ after scoliosis operation is cancelled

Megan Halvey-Ryan, 13, cried continuously, her mum Sharon said, after Crumlin Hospital informed the family that next Thursday’s operation was cancelled due to an “emergency”.

“We are devastated and very frustrated,” Sharon said. “Megan bawled crying all day when we heard.”

The RTÉ Investigates documentary Living on The List prompted a national outcry after it emerged Megan was on a waiting list for treatment for over two years.

Megan has no social life and the painful condition is making her so ill, she now weighs the same as her eight-year-old brother.
Megan has no social life and the painful condition is making her so ill, she now weighs the same as her eight-year-old brother.

An alternative date has been offered for Megan’s treatment on March 23, but the Limerick mother and daughter say they can have no confidence in the system.

The surgery would reportedly transform Megan’s life. With an abnormal curvature of the spine, she currently finds it almost impossible to attend school. Sharon said she had contacted the hospital last Tuesday and was given the bitterly disappointing news. “They said that an emergency came in last week and that has put all of the operating lists back. We have no guarantee that the same thing won’t happen on the 23rd.”

The curvature of the Dooradoyle schoolgirl’s spine is such that it will require complicated surgery and after-care and this cannot be done at any hospital in Ireland, other than Crumlin, which has just one theatre for such operations.

Megan has not been able to attend school since before Christmas. She told the RTÉ’s The Late Late Show she was “sick of this stupid thing”.

Megan Halvey-Ryan, 13, who suffers with scoliosis, with her mother, Sharon Halvey, on ‘The Late Late Show’.
Megan Halvey-Ryan, 13, who suffers with scoliosis, with her mother, Sharon Halvey, on ‘The Late Late Show’.

Megan and her mother travel to Crumlin today for an assessment with a specialist.

“It’s been eight months since she was reviewed and I’m hoping he will see how badly she has deteriorated in that time,” her mother said.

The family have investigated the possibility of treatment abroad under the EU Cross Border Directive but discovered it’s not feasible.

“Firstly, she can’t fly for months after the surgery so we’re talking air ambulances and all kinds of extras and all of the cost has to be paid upfront. The HSE will only reimburse patients for what it would cost to have the surgery done here,” Sharon said. “Even then, they won’t take responsibility for her when she comes home so there is no after-care. We’re just weary from battling. We’re devastated.”

In a statement last night, Crumlin said: “Megan was given two provisional dates for her scoliosis surgery (9 and 23 March 2017) by the hospital. The provisional date for 9 March is not now possible due to a more urgent case that has been scheduled for that date.

“Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, regrets that Megan is now being offered her second provisional date for surgery which is 23 March 2017.”

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