'Politicians are masking the problem while children like Sophia are in pain'
WHEN Sophia McGuinness was examined by surgeons at Our Lady's Hospital Crumlin last April her family were told the sooner she is operated on for her scoliosis the better.
But the schoolgirl from Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, who turns 12 this week, is still on a waiting list for spinal fusion and has no date yet for surgery.
Sophia, who suffers from cerebral palsy and can only communicate by computer, is in increasing pain and discomfort as her scoliosis worsens.
Her father Aaron said: "This is the second time Sophia has needed surgery. She was previously on a waiting list for 14 months before eventually having an operation on her lower lumbar spine.
"At that point the delay left her very sick and her right lung stopped working because her organs were squashed."
She could not sit in her chair and she was on morphine.
He said the delay made the surgery more complicated and she lost a lot of blood.
Her scoliosis has since deteriorated and she is on regular pain medication.
"Sophia cannot speak but through a computer can tell us if she is in pain or sore. She is telling us a lot of that now."
Aaron said he wrote to Health Minister Simon Harris who referred him to the waiting list plan to have no child on a list for more than four months by December.
"I know that children who are more severe than Sophia are getting priority, which is fine. But it means my daughter has to become sicker to get treatment.
"If politicians put half the effort into fixing the problem as masking it we would be a whole lot better off.
"We can never get a straight answer," he said.