Minister pledges new scoliosis facility after Limerick girl's plight is raised

 Dooradoyle girl's story lays bare health service problems

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Minister pledges new scoliosis facility after Limerick girl's plight is raised

Dooradoyle girl Megan Halvey-Ryan, who suffers from scoliosis

A NEW theatre to treat people with the rare spinal condition scoliosis will open in April, after a Limerick girl's plight laid bare the suffering among people on hospital waiting lists.

Health Minister Simon Harris was speaking in the Dail following the RTE Investigates programme, which featured Limerick schoolgirl Megan Halvey-Ryan, whose condition has become progressively worse in her time waiting for an operation at Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin.

Thirteen-year-old Megan, from Dooradoyle, suffers from what is an abnormal curvature of the spine, and has been awaiting surgery to make the pain disappear for more than two years.

In that time, the curve in her spine has moved from being at 20 degrees to now resembling an ‘s’ shape.

The youngster’s sleep is interrupted, she is unable to eat properly and is missing school.

Speaking in the Dail on Tuesday evening, Fianna Fail’s TD Niall Collins sought the minister’s intervention.

“Can the Minister arrange for Megan to receive the care and the procedure which she needs as soon as possible? Her consultant has requested it from the private sector, and the minister has the wherewithall to arrange it,” he said.

Mr Collins pointed out that many of the people featured on the Monday night investigation have since received treatments and procedures.

“That is not the case with Megan Halvey Ryan,” he said.

Mr Harris said he would instruct the chief executive of the children’s hospital group Eilish Hardiman to respond privately.

Speaking on the show, Megan’s mother Sharon said her condition has had a detrimental impact on family life.

“It makes me really sad because I don’t want to see her upset, and I feel like it’s somehow my fault. I just want the surgery for her: it’s not fair,” she said.

“She is exhausted all the time, as she is not sleeping and eating. And obviously if she is not eating, she is not getting much energy into her body. She has a permanent dribble. She is so conscious of it.”

Mr Harris said he was “ashamed” to witness the footage on the programme.