'This is the start of the rest of my life': Cork's Adam Terry recovering after scoliosis surgery

'This is the start of the rest of my life': Cork's Adam Terry recovering after scoliosis surgery

Adam Terry, from Whitechurch, underwent the procedure in recent weeks at Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin.

A 10-year-old Cork boy, who finally underwent scoliosis surgery after spending years waiting for the procedure, told his mother afterwards that the surgery was “the start of the rest of my life”.

Adam Terry, from Whitechurch, underwent the procedure in recent weeks at Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin.

The young Cork boy has just returned home to recover from his procedure.

His mother, Christine, yesterday told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show that the surgery had been a success.

“I can’t even believe that he’s had the surgery. We had four years fighting,” she said.

“He’s recovering better than anybody ever could have anticipated. He’s like a 10-and-a-half-year-old boy now.”

Adam Terry with his mother, Christine. Pic courtesy of Brian O'Connell
Adam Terry with his mother, Christine. Pic courtesy of Brian O'Connell

On his way home to Cork in the ambulance, Adam told his mother that the surgery was “the start of the rest of my life”.

Adam’s family had worked to raise awareness of the pain scoliosis patients live with, and had highlighted Adam’s case in the media.

When she was asked how she felt about having to go public with their story to get Adam to this point, Ms Terry said: “I have moments where I’m really proud that we did it, and then I have moments where I think, ‘Did we do the right thing?’ But it’s done and now we can move on with our lives and recover.”

However, she also vented her frustrations on behalf of the 200 families who are still on waiting lists for scoliosis surgeries.

“It’s so frustrating. These are innocent little children. These are not a number on a list,” Ms Terry said.

“In other countries, if you go beyond [a spinal curvature of] 40 degrees, your surgery is done.”

Before his surgery, Adam’s curvature measured over 90 degrees.

Although Adam is now sitting up straight and should be back to school in the new year, his mother said that his confidence was “completely broken” and she called for more to be done to quash waiting times.

“I have to now work every single day to build my little boy back into the human being he was before all of this, because it changed him.

“There’s been an awful lot of talk the last couple of weeks. I want to see action. Somebody needs to step up. The system is completely broken.”

Care of children raised at Oireachtas Committee 

The care of children with orthopaedic conditions in Ireland, including scoliosis, was discussed at an Oireachtas health committee yesterday.

At the meeting, consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon Connor Green said that children’s future potential is being “destroyed” both physically and psychologically by inadequate access to care.

Mr Green, who carries out scoliosis surgery in Cappagh and Temple Street hospitals, made a passionate plea to overhaul the system.

He told the committee that scoliosis represents about 20% of his practice, and the failures in the system also affect children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, hip deformities, and limb deformities.

Mr Green told the committee that these children are in so much pain and so ashamed of their appearance that they miss more school than they attend, and spend their childhood on waiting lists.

There are currently 43,844 children on the outpatient waiting list.

“The care of children with scoliosis in this country is inadequate,” he said. “But the care of children with all other orthopaedic conditions is just as bad.

“I think that it’s dishonest of us in any way to blame the pandemic on the waiting list in scoliosis and in paediatric orthopeadics.

“It’s made it more challenging, certainly, but the numbers were there before it started.”

Mr Green explained that only six out of the eight intensive care beds in Temple Street Hospital are staffed by nurses, adding: “We need to resource our ICU staffing better, we need to ringfence an intensive care bed before elective surgery, and we need to support our intensivists and recruit more of them in order to look after patients afterwards.”

He rejected claims by the HSE that blamed excessive waiting lists on the pandemic and the cyberattack, saying: “The unacceptably high wait times were there before either of these events, and they have made it worse, but they were there beforehand.”

Targets 'decimated'

Children’s Health Ireland told the committee that its annual target of carrying out 382 spinal treatments was “decimated” last year due to Covid-19. It said a total of 322 procedures were carried out.

CHI chief executive Eilish Hardiman said: “We did make progress in early 2021 to recover some of this activity, but the cyberattack in May 2021 severely impacted services in CHI.

“We anticipate that this year we will undertake a total of 335 spinal treatments in CHI.”

Ms Hardiman apologised to patients and families who are suffering while on waiting lists for paediatric services.

“We do not underestimate in any way the impact this has on them, and our intention is to correct this as soon as we can,” she said.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

summersoaplogosml

Called Droid, our next story is about a boy who designs a robot at UCC and chaos ensues. It was written by Margaret Gillies, from the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC.

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more