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overwhelmed Parents of Dublin girl (6) with spina bifida say delays in treatment have caused damage

'We were waiting a further 12 months and because of the delays, it ended up with Hannah’s kidneys having irreparable damage'

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Hannah Keogh from Tallaght, is one of 69 children in Ireland with Spina Bifida waiting for corrective surgery

Hannah Keogh from Tallaght, is one of 69 children in Ireland with Spina Bifida waiting for corrective surgery

Hannah Keogh from Tallaght, is one of 69 children in Ireland with Spina Bifida waiting for corrective surgery

The parents of a six-year-old Dublin girl with spina bifida have revealed how delays in treatment have caused further complications for their daughter. 

Hannah Keogh from Tallaght, is one of 69 children in Ireland with Spina Bifida waiting for corrective surgery.

She had surgery on her leg in 2020 but it was unsuccessful. Hannah has now been waiting a year-and-a-half for follow up surgery.

She told RTE News: "I can't go on the trampoline because I'm in my chair. I also find it really hard to take my top off."

Hannah also waited over a year for urgent urology surgery, which she finally got in January.

But her parents Anthony and Joanne Keogh say the wait damaged her kidneys further.

Her mother Joanne said: "We found out in 2020 that Hannah needed urology surgery within three months but that didn’t happen within that time.

"We were waiting a further 12 months and because of the delays, it ended up with Hannah’s kidneys having irreparable damage.

"We could be looking at potential renal failure because of the delay in the surgery."

“I can't even put it into words sometimes,” her dad Anthony added, “because we just become overwhelmed."

The Keogh family was speaking as the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced that that he is making an extra €19m in funding available for children who are in need of orthopaedic surgery.

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Minister Donnelly said the funding would ensure that any child with spina bifida or scoliosis, who was in need of surgery, would have it done within four months at the end of the year.

“We've got to do everything we can for these children and for their parents as well,” Minister Donnelly said.

“The ambition of the plan is that by the end of this year no child would be waiting for a scoliosis or spina bifida operation more than four months.

"As well as that there will be money there and facilities there in Crumlin, in Temple Street and in Cappagh for other children, other adolescents, who have other orthopaedic needs besides spina bifida and scoliosis."

While the Spina Bifida Paediatric Advocacy Group cautiously welcomed the funding, they said it is confusing that Taoiseach Micheál Martin said in the Dáil that funding was not an issue.

The group says the funding must be put into areas that will make a difference for the children who urgently need surgery.

“What we're concerned about is that this money goes to the right places for these children,” a spokesperson said.

Paediatric orthopaedic surgeon Connor Green welcomed the funding announcement.

He said: "Instead of doing one to two cases in Temple Street, the plan would be that I would be able to do between six and eight cases every operating list in Cappagh, which is really significant."

“Our CEO has been given control of it which means we can increase our surgery significantly and add an extra day of surgery."

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