herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Girl waiting 2 years for op in constant pain

A GIRL who has been waiting for more than two years for an operation says the pain she is in is so unbearable that she has no life whatsoever.

Linda Carey (15), from Tallaght, has been waiting for an operation at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children to help her deal with scoliosis since she was in first year at school.

The pain is so bad now that she is unable to attend school until she has had an operation to help her manage the condition.

She sat her Junior Cert last summer and has not returned to school since.

"It's very hard and I struggle every day," said Linda.

"I wake up in constant pain and have to take painkillers the second I'm awake," she said.

Scoliosis causes an abnormal curve of the spine that has had a massive effect on Linda's body.

Her mother Victoria Barry said that she is "terrified" of what the condition is doing to Linda.

"Linda's ribs are all twisted and coming out of her left side and [she has] a hump on her back," said Victoria.

"It's a huge curve on her spine so it affects her mobility and everything in her life. We are still waiting on the HSE but they keep prioritising other people but Linda keeps getting worse. The more curved her back goes, the less they will be able to fix it," she added.

Victoria said the scoliosis also affects Linda's eating because her ribs dig into her stomach "like a gastric band".

"It is a 12 or 13 hour operation. It is bad enough being a 15-year-old and trying to cope with changes to her body but she is also in constant pain," she said.

Linda has to take at least 18 tablets everyday to cope with the pain - four before breakfast, lunch and dinner and two more at bed time.

Being away from school and out of the loop with people her own age makes it harder but even when she was in school life was difficult for her.

She often found herself at the mercy of bullies who picked on her because of her condition.

"I can't wear the clothes that other teenagers wear, can't go out and now coming up to Christmas is going to be even harder because the pain gets worse when it is cold," said Linda.

"I've missed out on being a teenager and having a life because of the pain," she added.

Her condition is getting worse because "it keeps growing" and she said she spends her time waiting to be called for the operation she desperately needs.

"I wake up everyday and I am just waiting for the phone to ring. You're sitting there waiting and it seems like I am spending my whole life waiting for what I need," she said.

"My doctor has always been a big help to me but I do feel let down. The people at the hospital could do more for me," she added.

The HSE told the Herald that Our Lady's Hospital was responsible for issues regarding waiting lists.

A spokesperson for Our Lady's said that they did not comment on specific cases but they were looking to improve waiting times.

"A business proposal to increase orthopaedic capacity and resources at Crumlin was submitted to the HSE in April and again in August 2014 together with an action plan to improve the waiting times for access and to support the management of the spinal surgery programme," he said.

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