Parents group calls for paediatric doctor at centre of spinal surgical crisis to be reinstated

Dr Conor Green is at the centre of the spinal surgery crisis.

A GROUP of concerned parents of children with complex congenital and acquired limb deformities who require specialised surgeries have called for the “immediate reinstatement” of consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon Connor Green at Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

OrthoKids Ireland, organised by parents of children under the care of Mr Green, including some in the Limerick region, warned their children have been “waiting months” for life-saving treatment due to Mr Green’s absence.

Mr Green is the consultant at the centre of the spinal surgery crisis at Temple Street, run by Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), reported to the Irish Medical Council (IMC) after concerns were raised about outcomes for his patients.

Mr Green, who ceased performing surgeries last year and has been on leave for the past five months, declined to be interviewed or comment publicly.

A number of reviews are ongoing into the alleged use of unauthorised springs not intended for surgical use in Mr Green’s young patients, as well as orthopaedic surgeries and governance and oversight at Temple Street.

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In the wake of the crisis, OrthoKids Ireland launched an online petition, signed by almost 3,000 people in its first week, calling on the IMC to “convene an emergency meeting to review Connor Green’s case … as Connor is the only surgeon in Ireland with fellowship and training in reconstruction of limbs and bone dysplasia”.

The group claimed there are presently over 100 children on a waiting list for procedures at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Cappagh, “that only Connor can carry out”.

These procedures include “congenital limb reconstruction, bone dysplasia reconstruction, and surgical hip dislocation”.

They also claim that there are “over 50 children waiting for congenital limb reconstruction, bone dysplasia reconstruction and osteogenesis imperfecta” at Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

The OrthoKids Ireland group added that “at least 40 new referrals a year will join this waiting list due to Connor’s absence”.

Group member Diane Hodnett said her daughter Julia (7) was “spared long-term life impacting surgery” when Mr Green performed a specialised surgical intervention on one of her limbs.

“Julia has been a patient of Mr Green since she was one year old, due to having a rare medical condition that required surgery, which could not be treated successfully by anyone else in Europe, and only by a handful of doctors globally,” Ms Hodnett said.

The group said the children involved require a “multitude of procedures” and are currently facing three options: their case being taken over by consultant and not being treated; being treated by surgeons not trained in the skills that are unique to Connor Green; or going abroad for treatment, despite their disabilities and the absence of Mr Green.

Martin O’Regan, OrthoKids Ireland, added: “The Government will say that, under the National Treatment Purchase Fund, they could put our kids on planes for treatment abroad but the fact is a lot of these kids are not able to travel.”

“I am 100 per cent sure Connor Green will be exonerated when the investigations are all completed, but in the mean time, our children should not be allowed to deteriorate and have their future stolen by being denied the care of one the world’s best limb reconstruction surgeons.”

“Traveling abroad to one of a handful of other specialists for the next 10-18 years is not a viable solution for these children, so we are appealing for Connor Green’s case to be accelerated through the Irish Medical Council to facilitate hundreds of children benefiting from his expertise,” said Mr O’Regan.

The group said their children were living with “uncertainty and fear that the expected life-changing trajectory our children were on (with Mr Green) is now in abeyance, with potential life-altering consequences”.

It said many more children “needing specialist care”, and on out-patient waiting lists or between treatments, “remain in pain, lingering on waiting lists for months as other surgeons do not possess Dr Green’s expertise and experience in managing many of the complex issues our children endure”.

The group said their children’s lives are “on hold” and their education was been stymied “as they cannot play or attend school”.