Rabbitte criticises HSE over scoliosis cases


LABOUR’S PAT Rabbitte criticised the Health Service Executive (HSE) for failing to give a satisfactory reply about the plight of two teenage girls suffering from scoliosis.

Mr Rabbitte said that the two girls, aged 15 years and 17 years respectively, were secondary school students in his Dublin South West constituency. The condition, in its severest form, caused curvature of the spine and visible deformity.

“Both girls require specialist operations to correct the curvature,’’ he added.

“There is no connection between the two cases, except that neither has been able to get the necessary medical and surgical procedure done.’’

Mr Rabbitte said he regretted to say he had been unable to get a meaningful response from the Minister for Health, Mary Harney, who was normally very understanding of such matters, “and it goes without saying that I have been completely unable to extract any meaningful reply from the HSE, which really is shameful’’.

Mr Rabbitte said that the teenagers were due to sit their Leaving Certificate examinations in 2010 and were happy to be advised by Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin that their operations would take place in April and June of this year, giving them time to recover and study for their examinations without the pain or the distraction their illness caused.

Due to cutbacks and ward closures imposed by the HSE, one student had her operation cancelled with no alternative date. The other student had been given a provisional date for June of this year but with no guarantee that the operation would be done then.

“If either family could afford it, their respective daughters would be attended to almost immediately as private patients for €85,000 each,’’ said Mr Rabbitte.

Minister of State for Health John Moloney said he understood it would not be appropriate to discuss the specific circumstances of individual cases.

However, he understood that the authorities at the Crumlin hospital were seeking to agree arrangements with the national treatment purchase fund for a number of patients to be treated as soon as possible.