In May, an Irish woman’s right vertebrae were wired so she could regain control of her body after she fell and fractured her neck.
She was forced to have surgery after her spinal cord was damaged, but her injuries were not life-threatening.
Now, her husband and sister are demanding her surgery be paid for, as she must wear a device to control the movement of her spine.
“I feel the doctors are not listening to me,” she said.
“They’ve told me I’m going straight to heaven.”
There’s no way I’m ever going to walk again.
“After the operation, the woman lost her left hip, which had to be reconstructed and her left leg.
Now she has a new right vertebral artery and a new spine.
The procedure, which is performed in a hospital in Limerick, cost the woman €200,000.
But now her husband has called for a parliamentary inquiry into how the Irish health service treats spinal cord injuries.”
It’s not right for me to be paying for this, it’s not fair for me, and I don’t want this,” she told the Irish Times.”
This is an injury that’s been very long and very painful.
“The doctors and nurses have to be listening to us, and we’re asking for the money for this surgery.”
Dr Michael Breen, director of the University of Limerick’s Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, told the paper that many patients do not need the surgery because of their age, disability or mental health.
“A lot of patients, especially young people, have not had the best outcome, they’ve had some problems with their brain, and there have been some complications with the nerves that connect their spinal cord to the rest of their body,” he said.
The Irish Times understands the woman had a fracture of her left femur and vertebra in the neck and a fracture to her right ankle.
She has also had spinal cord injury in her left hand, a fracture in her right leg, a dislocation in her back and a dislocated shoulder.
The woman was taken to hospital for evaluation and scans.
The Independent Health Association (IHA) is a charity that provides medical advice on spinal cord health and rehabilitation.
A spokeswoman said it was a charity organisation and not a medical organisation.
“We have always advised people to follow our guidelines on care for spinal cord conditions and rehabilitation,” she added.
“In this case we did not think the surgery was appropriate for this patient.”