Little Darragh (7) suffered months of pain before he got crucial spinal operation
Little Darragh Cahill's plight as he suffered months of pain waiting for vital spinal surgery has moved his mother Claire to tears many times.
Darragh (7), from Kilkenny, was diagnosed with infantile scoliosis at two-and-a-half years old and has had to undergo body casing and spinal bracing.
His condition became so severe it affected his breathing.
"I know he is suffering," his mother Claire told the 'RTÉ Investigates' programme.
His condition had deteriorated to the point where he needed halo traction prior to surgery. She believed this may not have been needed if he had been operated on earlier.
Darragh has since undergone the surgery after being on the list for more than 15 months.
Describing the kind of surgery required in the programme, his mother said he would need six bolts to be put into his skull.
Orthopaedic surgeon Martin Murphy of Tallaght Hospital told the programme that the health service was putting budgets before patients.
"What is more important. Treating patients or achieving a balanced budget?" he asked.
Meanwhile, a leading hospital consultant has said that although a public patient is given an appointment for surgery, they can endure several cancellations running into months.
Consultant ophthalmologist Michael O' Keeffe of the Mater Hospital said they should continue to be counted on waiting lists until the procedure was completed.
There should be no juggling of figures, he added.