'can’t wait' | 

Mum of girl (15) with cerebral palsy says they have no choice but to seek treatment abroad

Antoinette told sundayworld.com that she must now “take matters into her own hands” to help her young daughter

Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

A mum and her teenage daughter who has cerebral palsy are going to Poland to get treatment they say is being denied in Ireland.

Katie Byrne (15) has had a dislocated hip since the age of 2 and has been unable to receive surgery in Ireland as doctor’s say she is “too weak,” according to her mum Antoinette Burke.

Antoinette told sundayworld.com that she must now “take matters into her own hands” to help her young daughter.

Antoinette says she “can’t wait any longer” as her daughter’s hip is now 40% dislocated and it’s impacting her everyday life.

"There are days that she falls and it’s horrible for me as her mum to see her on the ground struggling to get back up again.

"If I’m here on my own with her, I cannot pick her up off the floor, so she uses the wall or a chair to help herself up."

Katie Byrne

Antoinette says they are not satisfied with her experiences dealing with the HSE and that Katie has been “neglected” by the health service.

Katie has been waiting months for a referral to adult services, Antoinette says and they “are not prepared to wait again to be possibly told no again.”

"This shouldn’t be the way my daughter has to live her life when there is surgery to help her.”

The Cork mother needs to hit €20,000 on GoFundMe so that Katie can receive treatment in Poland next year.

"She’s 15 now, no 15 year-old wants to be relying on their mother and having her hanging around.

"Katie is in pain and the sad thing about it is that she is so long with a dislocated hip, she is just used to the pain.”

In 2014, the mother fundraised over €60,000 to get to St Louis’ Children’s Hospital in Missouri.

It was “the kindness of my family and the people of Cork and beyond” who got Katie, then 6 years-old, to the US, Antoinette says.

She believes that if she had listened to doctors in Ireland then, Katie “would still be in her wheelchair now.”

“Before we went to America, Katie was dependant on her wheelchair and walking frame to get around,” the mother says. "Since we returned to Ireland, Katie very rarely uses her wheelchair. She can walk independently but uses crutches when she is outside as she is nervous when she is out and about.”

Antoinette has since tracked down the doctor who operated on Katie in Missouri – who had moved to Florida – and told him their story over Zoom.

Within a month, Katie had been accepted to surgery following meetings with the doctor, who is flying to his clinic in Poland to meet Katie in January.

“Parents like me shouldn’t have to take our children to the other side of the world to get her the care she badly needs,” Antoinette says.

“I am doing what I can to help my daughter.

"I would go to the ends of the earth and back again if it meant she wasn’t in pain because if I don’t help her, she will be left like this for God knows how long,” she said.

Antoinette has launched a GoFundMe with the goal of €20,000 to get Katie to Poland. The campaign is called ‘Katie’s Fight to Keep Walking.’


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