Girl (4) comes to school with a dislocated hip while waiting years on Temple Street for surgery

The mother of a four-year-old girl who has already spent years on a waiting list for vital hip surgery said she fears recent delays in complex scoliosis surgery at Temple St Hospital will put more children in the queue.

Onya Boyce, from Kilmacanogue, Co. Wicklow, said her daughter Cara, who was born with spina bifida and is wheelchair-bound, has had a dislocated hip since birth.

But although it should have been corrected before she was two years old, she still hasn’t had an appointment for the surgery.

“Cara will be five later this month and will start junior infant classes today with her dislocated hip and I still have no idea when the surgery will be done,” she said.

Her heart sank when she heard that pressure on services had forced Temple Street Hospital to postpone planned surgeries on children who were due for complex scoliosis surgery in the next three weeks.

The hospital said it has performed more complex scoliosis surgeries since April, but these children may need multiple follow-up surgeries with stays of up to six months in some cases.

It needs to pause for three weeks to plan how it will treat these young patients over the fall and winter.

Cara doesn’t have scoliosis, but she is among 52 children living with spina bifida awaiting orthopedic care on Temple Street and languishing on waiting lists, said the Pediatric Advocacy Group – parents who have campaigned for service improvements.

Tonya said: “Cara has to sit in her wheelchair on a lowered seat and leans to one side. It’s uncomfortable and I see her changing positions. She is not getting the full benefit of her physical therapy.

“She will have to sit at school for several hours. At some point, when she’s going to have surgery, she’ll have to take time off from school.”

Amanda Coughlan-Santry, co-leader of the Pediatric Advocacy Group, said she recognizes the tremendous work done by frontline workers since families launched the campaign to end waiting lists earlier this year.

But she said her group foresaw the kind of shifts that are now being enforced unless children have timely access to prevent post-operative complications, lengthy stays and readmissions.

She said the additional €19 million in funding allocated this year to reach waiting lists “was spread too thinly across a range of services related to spina bifida and scoliosis and this is the knock-on effect.”

“Unfortunately, our efforts to maintain commitment and highlight our concerns to Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly have been met with silence,” she said. “As negative attention goes, so does the promise of support.”

A Temple Street spokeswoman said on Aug. 28 it had performed the same number of spinal fusions to date as it did in all of 2021 — 28 in total.

Of 31 patients on the spinal fusion waiting list, 13 are complex. Non-complex spinal surgeries continue.

“We remain on track to deliver on the promise that by the end of the year, no patient will wait longer than four months for spine surgery, where clinically appropriate.”

However, Claire Cahill of the Scoliosis Advocacy Network said there were 258 children awaiting scoliosis-related surgeries across all children’s hospitals – a significant increase from the list of 187 last September. Girl (4) comes to school with a dislocated hip while waiting years on Temple Street for surgery

Fry Electronics Team

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