'We will work within his limits and make sure he is enjoying life' - Brave Darragh back in school after vital op
A little boy who captured the hearts of the nation as he bravely battled a painful spinal condition is now back at school.
Darragh Cahill (7), from Kilkenny - one of the waiting list patients featured on the RTÉ Investigates programme - was finally operated on in November.
Darragh's mother Claire revealed: "He was on the waiting list in Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin for more than 15 months for surgery to correct his scoliosis - a twisting of the spine - which was deteriorating.
"He had deteriorated to the point where he had trouble breathing as it pressed on his internal organs. It was very invasive surgery. But the decrease in his lung function cannot be reversed. At the last reading it was at just 70pc as the delay in getting the surgery took its toll.
"He also faces several more operations and clinic visits until he is a young man due to having early-onset scoliosis. His weakened lungs leave his vulnerable to infection and although [he is] back at school he sometimes has to finish in the early afternoon because of tiredness.
"Darragh has been fitted with rods and these can cause complications while they also have to readjusted every six months.
"If he did not have the surgery he would not have survived into his 20s and 30s because of damage to internal organs."
Darragh had found it difficult to keep down food because of the internal pressure but this has now stopped.
"It's very hard to get access to outpatient clinics. The challenges remain. Even if a child needs a clinical review you might be told the clinic is overbooked and there is no space. There is a chance Darragh will end up on the surgery waiting list again because of complications. We have accepted that.
"Scoliosis is treatable but it not treated on time the child deteriorates. We will work within his limits and make sure he is enjoying life."