Paediatric Orthopaedic team work to perform urgently needed surgery for kids on waiting lists

Private donors and companies support an initiative to provide extra orthopaedic deformity surgery. Straight Ahead charity launches with plea for more funds. Four kids get a life-changing operation for Christmas.

A medical and charity supported initiative has been developed in Ireland to perform major orthopaedic operations for Irish children on waiting lists in urgent need for surgery. These children all have either progressive spinal deformity, neuromuscular conditions or orthopaedic conditions that deteriorate the longer they are forced to wait.

While many children every year with these problems receive surgical treatment, some cannot be operated on quickly enough,, due to lack of resources or theatre time available, to the surgical teams.

The HSE and Minister Reilly have undertaken initiatives, to find extra resources through procurement and work-practice efficiencies, and to bring forward activity related funding so that greater efficiency, extra theatre-time and the staff required may become available in the future.

In the interim, very generous private donors, and volunteers have raised over €90,000 to ensure that some of the most needy children are looked after as quickly as possible.

Normally 10 such operations could cost up to or over €500,OOO. Straight Ahead has been able to potentially reduce this to €150,000.

This is achieved, through the support of surgical teams, working within existing children’s hospital infrastructures, and with donated support from Irish and international providers of the implants and materials used for such surgery cases.

Already €90,000 has been raised and 5 children have successfully been treated. The first operation took place on November 12th and was a great success with four more performed on December 28th, 29th and 30th.

These children are high priority for the group of four paediatric orthopaedic surgeons and are chosen on the basis of time-critical need.

“We, know they may suffer poorer outcome if we do not have the capability to operate on them soon. A potential year or more on a waiting list can mean more serious dysfunction, discomfort and pain, and in some cases multiple operations for a single case, with higher risk, potential poorer outcome and longer recovery time,” said Pat Kiely, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon.

Paula Kelly, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon added: “We regularly meet families who must come to terms with long, heart-breaking and painful delays in their child’s treatment, and this is why we’ve decided to see what we more we can achieve together, to help, in our own way”.

“We know this is only a drop in the ocean and many other children equally need attention. We can help ten and would hope that Minister Reilly the SDU and the HSE continue to focus on reducing waiting lists and improving resources in this area,” concluded Shane Holland, Chair of the Straight Ahead charity committee.