HELP US WALK: Miracle man holds key to our dreams

Surgeon TS Park with a young patient

Surgeon TS Park with a young patient

First published in Swindon Advertiser backs campaign to help young cerebral palsy sufferers to walk Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @SwindonAdver007

HE HAS been recognised as a ‘Best Doctor in America’ and news of his miracle operation to change the lives of cerebral palsy sufferers is travelling across the world.

Dr TS Park, 65, who works at the St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, has been hailed a miracle worker by families who have gone to the hospital to undergo the selective dorsal rhizotomy operation.

The parents of Abbey Meads six-year-old Alycia Ellis have been in contact with Dr Park and hope that he will be able to help their daughter walk provided they can raise the £50,000 needed to fund the operation and physiotherapy.

Dr Park specialises in paediatric neurosurgery and treating children with cerebral palsy using the surgical procedure which he has refined and studied more extensively than any other surgeon.

The procedure, also known as SDR, is not new having been developed in the 1980s. It involves cutting sensory nerves in the bottom of the spine to permanently relieve muscle spasticity, or rigidness, caused by cerebral palsy.

A majority of people with cerebral palsy have spasticity in their lower limbs, making walking and sitting difficult and can also cause pain, cramps and spasms.

However, in 1991, Dr Park pioneered a less-invasive technique that involved removing bone from one vertebrae to locate the spasticity-causing nerves.

Dr Park said: “I have been doing this for more than 25 years and have operated on more than 2,000 children from 43 countries. The outcomes have been very, very satisfactory.

“For those children who were able to walk with assistance, many of them can walk by themselves. Those who were in a wheelchair can walk with a walker or crutches.”

Kristian Aquilina, paediatric neurosurgeon, carries out the procedure at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

After his neurosurgical training in Bristol he completed a one-year clinical fellowship in paediatric neurosurgery and neuro-oncology at St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Centre in Memphis, Tennessee.

He said: “I was fortunate to have the opportunity to perform this operation in Memphis where I was doing my paediatric neurosurgery fellowship.

“I must say the effect it has on children is quite remarkable, although there is a requirement for physiotherapy in the beginning of course, and it does go on for some time and requires a significant commitment from the family.

“It clearly does make a huge difference in the way the children walk and also they become more confident in their general well being.”

HOW TO HELP

  • IF YOU would like to make a donation to any of the three families, or can help out in another way, they would love to hear from you.
  • To help Alycia Ellis and her American Dream call Natasha on 07825 828265.
  • To help Jack Pike and his family contact Kylie on 07833 225411.
  • And to offer your support to Robbie Davies and his family call Kelly on 07597 025452, or emibeyh1234@yahoo.co.uk
  • You can also call the Adver on 01793 501806 and we will be happy to help.

KEY QUESTIONS THE Swindon Advertiser has put a list of questions to NHS Swindon, some on behalf of the parents of cerebral palsy sufferers Alycia Ellis, Jack Pike and Robbie Davies.

The PCT has promised to answer our questions as soon as possible.

1

What are the exceptional circumstances that the NHS look at when considering each individual case? 2 If a child has other underlying health problems will that affect whether the NHS will fund their surgery or not?

3

Even though the families have been refused the operation on the NHS, why can they not make the decision to pay for it privately themselves?

4

What process do the applications go through?

5

Who looks at their applications to receive the operation?

6

If the cost to the NHS to care for these patients has been estimated to cost approximately £33,000 until they are 21, how can the NHS describe the operation, which costs about £24,000 as not being ‘cost efficient’?

7

If the operation has such a high success rate in America, why is it not available for these children?

8

Have any such operations been sanctioned for children in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire? If so, how many operations?

9

If any have been sanctioned, how did their circumstances differ from those refused so far?

10

Are you prepared to meet the families in Swindon featured in the Swindon Advertiser face to face to answer their questions and concerns?

11

Have you or any of your management team met the consultant in Bristol carrying out these operations to discuss success rates and find out about the benefits to recipients?

Comments (8)

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10:01am Fri 20 Apr 12

Robfm says...

It is inconceivable that children are being denied what is a comparatively cheap procedure at Frenchay which will improve the quality by a magnitude that we as able body could ever appreciate.

It is all the more disgusting in my view when the NHS is prepared to spend millions to put right vanity surgery caused by another countries failure to properly regulate it's breast implant industry.

Perhaps those women ought to take stock of the fact they voluntarily had this surgery. These children didn't volunteer to have cerebral palsy.

The NHS spends millions each year on vanity care, it needs to stop, then perhaps the innocent victims of fate can be treated.
It is inconceivable that children are being denied what is a comparatively cheap procedure at Frenchay which will improve the quality by a magnitude that we as able body could ever appreciate. It is all the more disgusting in my view when the NHS is prepared to spend millions to put right vanity surgery caused by another countries failure to properly regulate it's breast implant industry. Perhaps those women ought to take stock of the fact they voluntarily had this surgery. These children didn't volunteer to have cerebral palsy. The NHS spends millions each year on vanity care, it needs to stop, then perhaps the innocent victims of fate can be treated. Robfm
  • Score: 0

10:40am Fri 20 Apr 12

PaulD says...

Bob. I agree 100%.
Bob. I agree 100%. PaulD
  • Score: 0

11:16am Fri 20 Apr 12

Robfm says...

I thank God my son, and now his children have all been born healthy, as has it has to be said all my extended family.

To deny these children the right to potentially walk is evil in my view when we waste millions on self induced illness.
I thank God my son, and now his children have all been born healthy, as has it has to be said all my extended family. To deny these children the right to potentially walk is evil in my view when we waste millions on self induced illness. Robfm
  • Score: 0

12:13pm Fri 20 Apr 12

PaulD says...

such as smoking related illnesses?

I've no intention of taking this thread to another place, but again I agree 100%!
such as smoking related illnesses? I've no intention of taking this thread to another place, but again I agree 100%! PaulD
  • Score: 0

12:35pm Fri 20 Apr 12

AngelaAnglea says...

My son needs to get in touch with Kelly and Rob he is organising something to raise money please see Nick Felix facebook
My son needs to get in touch with Kelly and Rob he is organising something to raise money please see Nick Felix facebook AngelaAnglea
  • Score: 0

12:39pm Fri 20 Apr 12

Emroc says...

I couldn't agree more with both of you. In my opinion, it's an absolute disgrace.
I couldn't agree more with both of you. In my opinion, it's an absolute disgrace. Emroc
  • Score: 0

12:48pm Fri 20 Apr 12

Robfm says...

PaulD, no argument on that front from me. Never has been.
PaulD, no argument on that front from me. Never has been. Robfm
  • Score: 0

12:46pm Sun 22 Apr 12

MrAngry says...

Is there a way of making a donation online or via the Adver? Personally, I would feel uncomfortable phoning the families directly.
Is there a way of making a donation online or via the Adver? Personally, I would feel uncomfortable phoning the families directly. MrAngry
  • Score: 0

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