Straight ahead launched in 2011,aiming to help “time critical” cases in children who were in danger of significant delay and deterioration while on waiting lists for their orthopaedic surgery.
Straight Aheads first patient was teenager Jason Slevin.The nation watched Jason and his mum on Primetime special about waiting lists.Both talked about the pain and difficulty caused by Jasons scoliosis,and consultant Pat Kiely commented on how such a severe problem was unnecessary and even economically futile.He argued the need for political will and funding to provide more surgeons,theatre time and after care for child orthopaedic cases.
Struck by Jasons now severe condition,an anonymous and very generous donor provided Straight Ahead with the fees to help pay for Jasons surgery,a voluntary surgical team was activated for a series of weekend surgeries,and Jason made a good recovery in Blackrock clinic.
Further Straight Ahead procedures have been carried out.We now have completed over 100 cases. Straight Ahead performed its first official procedure in Crumlin in November 2011 on 12 year old Bronwyn Kavanagh-Smith who had a major curve of 96 degrees.She had been on the surgical waiting list for 6 months,but was deteriorating rapidly because of her speed of growth.Further delay could have led to multiple surgeries with significantly higher risk,as she continued to grow and deteriorate.
Following surgery,Bronwyn’s spine was very much straighter and better aligned and she was discharged from hospital within five days “more than 3 inches taller”she told her medical team.She is niw leading a normal teenage life,the surgery is a distant little chapter in her past.
Since Straight Ahead started 144 children have been successfully treated by us .They come from all over the country.