Surgery abroad ‘completely changed my life’

Olivia McMahon is among some children and young people expected to wait more than a year for spinal surgery in Northern Ireland.

Olivia, aged 14, has scoliosis, a condition where the spine curves abnormally to one side.

Scoliosis affects three to four children out of every 1,000 in the UK.

In October 2020, Olivia told BBC News NI about her deteriorating condition as she waited for an operation.

Her family was so concerned about the hospital waiting lists, they raised £45,000 so she could have private surgery abroad in early 2021.

Olivia tells BBC News NI about the stress of travelling to Turkey for a 12-hour operation, which she said should have taken place in Northern Ireland.

She said the surgery had “completely changed” her life.

Video journalist: Ciara Colhoun

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