Monday 23 April 2018

'The whole of Limerick will be lighting candles ' - brave teen Megan hopes to finally have surgery on Thursday

Limerick teenager Megan Halvey-Ryan suffers from scoliosis – an abnormal curvature of the spine. Photo: RTÉ
Limerick teenager Megan Halvey-Ryan suffers from scoliosis – an abnormal curvature of the spine. Photo: RTÉ
Megan (13) with her mother Sharon Halvey-Ryan on ‘The Late Late Show’ last night
Sharon and her daughter Megan Halvey-Ryan (13). Photo: RTÉ
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A brave teen who has been waiting for years for a life-changing surgery is due to finally have her operation this week.

Megan Halvey Ryan (13), who moved the nation when she appeared in RTÉ's 'Living on the List' documentary, has been living in pain for years as she waited for the surgery.

The Limerick teen, who suffers from scoliosis (an abnormal curvature of the spine) bravely revealed the full extent of the suffering she experienced, prompting the Health Minister Simon Harris to pledge changes in the system.

Now, her family are hopeful that she will finally undergo her surgery on Thursday, in Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Dublin.

"Hopefully all going well we will be heading up in the morning once we get phone call to confirm the bed is available," he mum Sharon told

"[We are] hoping things go smoothly this time as Megan has been through enough, she deserves a bit of luck.  

"The whole of Limerick will be lighting candles," she added.

It will be Wednesday morning when the family will receive a final confirmation that there is a bed available, which her mum described as "nerve wracking".

A previous date which was provisionally scheduled for the surgery earlier this month was deferred due to a more urgent case requiring attention.

The teen's surgery comes after the Children's Ombudsman released a report entitled: Waiting on Scoliosis treatment: A children's rights issue'.

The report contained the testimony of several struggling children.

Sharon Halvey-Ryan attended the launch of the report, along with other families who are campaigning for change in treatment.

"I think one thing that was mentioned yesterday was it's international best practice for a child to have surgery between three to six months after being told they need it.

The report showed that children were waiting up to 18 months for surgery and such a low target was "absolutely disgraceful in a developed country like Ireland and it's a total breach and violation of children's rights", Ms Halvey Ryan said.

"I think that is one of the most important points that Ireland has to get in line with the rest of Europe for scoliosis treatment and surgery," she said.

Minister Harris has pledged this week that no child will wait longer than four months by the end of this year, bringing Ireland in line with the UK.

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