Ten-year-old makes direct appeal to Taoiseach for help to get urgent surgery

Labour leader Alan Kelly read a letter from Adam Terry who has been waiting for more than four years for scoliosis surgery.
Ten-year-old makes direct appeal to Taoiseach for help to get urgent surgery

Cate McCurry, PA

A 10-year-old boy has made an appeal to the Taoiseach to help him get the surgery he desperately needs to return to school and play with his friends, the Dáil has heard.

Labour leader Alan Kelly read a letter from Adam Terry (10) who has been waiting for more than four years for scoliosis surgery.

The young boy from Whitechurch, Co Cork has faced a number of delays for urgent surgeries.

Despite assurances that he would undergo surgery last year, Adam’s mother Christine was told in February that they would have to wait at least another nine months.

Mr Kelly said that he spoke to the boy’s mother on Wednesday morning, describing their story as “horrific”.

“Adam’s story is far more important and indicative of where we are going as a country than any budget announced yesterday,” Mr Kelly said.

“Why? Because our priorities have changed. I’m sure the majority of people in this country will give up any modest tax change if Adam and 172 other children waiting for scoliosis procedures could happen.”

Mr Kelly said that Adam suffers from Marfan syndrome (MS), has brittle bones, a heart condition, spinal issues and has undergone 21 procedures in his 10 years.

“Four years ago, his surgery would be complex, but now it’s additionally more complex. It may go to the point where he’ll never be able to live without pain,” Mr Kelly added.

 

“Now the curve on the spine is so bad that some of the internal bones are now rubbing off one another, and he has to try and crack his back to get pain relief, you can literally see the curve on the side of his body.

“It’s upsetting his organs and potentially causing other medical issues.

“His stomach is squashed, he can’t eat properly and he’s down to 18kg. Remember, he’s 10.”

The family may be forced to travel to Great Ormond Street in London for surgery.

Mr Kelly read to the Dáil a letter from Adam to Micheál Martin during Leaders’ questions.

“Dear Taoiseach, I am from Cork like you. You know my story well by now,” he said.

“Will you please ensure I get the treatment and aftercare I so desperately need so I can get back to school and play with my friends who I miss so much. I really, really need your help.”

Mr Martin said that no child should have to wait for vital surgery.

“It is complex surgery, but that is no excuse,” he added.

He said that any child who has to go to Great Ormond Street reflects a systemic failure.

Mr Martin said he spoke to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and the HSE.

 

“I’m not going to give any false dawns today. I just want to the see surgery happen and I think it needs to happen, and it needs to happen in a timely manner,” he added.

“It’s our responsibility as a Government to make sure that children can access surgery in a timely manner.

“I want to see Adam go back to school, to mix with his friends, and we’re going to do whatever we have to do.

“I know that the consultants want to help as well in this situation.”

Mr Martin said the issue was not a lack of resources, adding that elective surgery should be ringfenced to ensure surgery takes place as planned.

The Fianna Fáil leader said he spoke to Adam’s family this morning and vowed to “keep on the case”.

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