By Rose Barrett
An 11-year-old Dublin girl whose spine is twisting into her lungs and pelvis has taken her plea for urgent surgery to the steps of Dail Eireann.
Brave Sophie Redmond from Loughlinstown is normally an active child but has spent most of the past few months lying down because she is in such pain.
Sophie was diagnosed with scoliosis in 2017 and has been waiting almost a year for a vital procedure to correct the curvature of her spine.
An x-ray taken on her spine last week shows it is now twisting into her lungs and pelvis.
Sophie took her case to Leinster House on Tuesday where she handed a letter to Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and appealed directly to Taoiseach Micheal Martin for help.
Sophie’s dad Eric told Dublin Gazette: “Sophie remains in dreadful discomfort and unable to play GAA or to enjoy her hip-hop, or just to have her normal energy.
“She wrote a letter herself to Micheál Martin and handed it in to Leinster House.
“Sophie requires an anterior and posterior spinal fusion.
“What that involves is fusing the spine and pelvis together; it’s a massive operation, but the HSE can’t provide enough theatre days and paediatric ICU beds.
“Sophie has had no treatment since her diagnosis, she has had no physical treatment or intervention other than a back brace which she has worn for the past three years up to March this year.
“That’s 12 hours a night she was in a brace, from 8pm to 8am. But she’s a bubbly young one, full of fun and devilment.”
Eric didn’t mince his words when it comes to what he sees as the neglect of the Government for children awaiting emergency surgeries.
He said: “I don’t know if Covid-19 is being used as an excuse for the backlog but it was the same for other kids in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“Why do they allow kids to get so bad before they take action and provide the surgery?
“For so long, the government have told us there’s no money available, as soon as Covid-19 came along, there’s money being pulled out of their backsides – how come?
“I believe this is neglect.”