Children’s Health Ireland chief directed to attend court to explain medical records delay in spinal surgery action

Case relates to Luke Ryan, one of a number of children taking actions over alleged adverse effects suffered after spinal surgery

The chief executive of Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) has been directed to appear before the High Court to explain a delay in releasing medical records of a child caught up in the spinal surgery controversy.

Six-year-old Luke Ryan from Dublin has had a spring in his body since he had spinal surgery at Temple Street Children’s Hospital in July 2020 and it needs to be removed, Mr Justice Brian Cregan was told on Monday.

He is one of a number of children taking legal actions over what it is claimed are adverse effects suffered after spinal surgery at Temple Street.

Barrister Karl Sweeney, instructed by Raymond Bradley of Malcomson Law, for Luke, told the court the firm acts for a number of children who are taking actions related to the alleged adverse effects of spinal surgery at the Dublin hospital.


Counsel said Luke’s family and solicitor requested his medical records and at one stage were told it could be 10 weeks before these could be released.

Mr Justice Cregan was being asked to grant an injunction compelling the hospital to hand over the records which the family wants to use to seek a second opinion.

“It’s a staggering default. This issue had come into the public domain in that time.”

Mr Justice Cregan said while he had not heard the other side he was minded given the urgency of the situation to direct CHI chief executive Eilish Hardiman to come to court on Tuesday afternoon “to explain what the delay is”.

“This clearly demands her attention,” the judge said, adding that if Ms Hardiman was not in a position to attend court she could indicate another date when she could.

Mr Sweeney said Luke’s application was important givem other families are also seeking medical records in relation to spinal surgery at Temple Street.

In an affidavit to the court, Luke’s mother, Elizabeth McMahon, said he who was born with spinal muscular atrophy and scoliosis and is the only child who still has to have the spring removed. She said she believes the spring is not EU certified and was unsuitable in terms of its metal profile for the procedure concerned.

She said Luke is entitled to his medical records without further delay and is presently suffering a potential loss of expert advice options and possible surgical intervention due to them not being forthcoming.

The case comes back before the court on Tuesday.