Adam Terry (10) given ‘provisional’ date for scoliosis surgery

Taoiseach described delay of several years as a ‘systems failure’ in the health service

Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the delay of several years in the case a ‘systems failure’ in the health service. Photograph: Mark Marlow/PA Wire

Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the delay of several years in the case a ‘systems failure’ in the health service. Photograph: Mark Marlow/PA Wire

 

A 10-year-old child waiting for more than four years for crucial scoliosis surgery has been given a “provisional date” for the procedure, his parents have said.

Lengthy delays in the case of Adam Terry, from Whitechurch, Cork, who is waiting for scoliosis treatment, were heavily criticised last week.

Adam, one of 172 children waiting for spinal surgery, was first diagnosed with spinal issues when he was 18 months old, has had 21 procedures and is a full-time wheelchair user.

Speaking on Monday, his mother Christine said the family had now received a “provisional date” for surgery, following media coverage of his case.

Adam and his mother were previously told in December 2020 that the surgery would be done in the spring, but it did not go ahead.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the delay of several years in the case a “systems failure” in the health service.

Ms Terry said Crumlin Children’s Hospital contacted the family in recent days, to offer them a provisional date for surgery on October 29th.

“It’s meant to go ahead, but if an emergency comes in or if they don’t have an ICU bed, it’ll be cancelled … In the same breath that we were told we had a date, we were told that it may not actually go ahead,” she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne programme.

This was the “very first time” the family had been given a date for the surgery for Adam, she said.

The family were now dependent on an intensive-care bed being available on the day, she said. If there happened to be an emergency on the day, such as a child involved in a traffic collision, the procedure would be cancelled, she said.

Speaking about the pain her son was in due to his condition,she said his case was “an emergency”.

“I’m now dealing with a little boy who is in so much pain daily, he is in bed all day, he can’t get up, he can’t function. He was screaming in pain and that was really really hard,” she said.

Adam’s father Mark said there were clear “bottlenecks” in the system that “need to be ironed out”.

The issue of children with scoliosis facing long delays waiting for surgery was “going on years,” he said. “Whatever is broken in the system, someone needs to come in and fix it,” he said.