Devastating blow for family as younger sibling also diagnosed with scoliosis

A Co Antrim mum whose daughter recently underwent vital surgery for scoliosis has told of her family’s shock after learning her younger child also has the condition.

Monday, 12th October 2020, 2:52 pm
Carrick schoolgirl Megan Scott (10) was diagnosed with scoliosis after her sister Emily underwent treatment for the same condition.

Brenda Scott’s daughter Emily (12) travelled to Acibadem Maslak Hospital in Istanbul last month to undergo surgery to treat the condition.

It followed a fundraising appeal that saw an anonymous donor contribute the £45,000 cost of the private procedure.

And while the operation was a success, the Carrickfergus family were dealt a devastating blow when it was discovered Emily’s younger sister, Megan (10) also has the condition.

X-ray showing the degree of curvature on Megan's spine.

Causing a sideways curve of the spine, scoliosis most often starts in children aged 10-15.

While it can be treated with a back brace, occasionally spinal fusion surgery is required.

Most cases of the condition have no known cause; however, it can sometimes run in families, according to the NHS.

“When we got home [from Turkey] with Emily, I checked Megan’s back; we had been told there’s a 67 percent chance that a female sibling could have it as well,” Brenda explained.

Concerned at possible signs of the condition in her younger child, Brenda e-mailed photographs of Megan’s back to Istanbul-based spinal surgeon Dr Ahmet Alanay.

Dr Alanay, who only days earlier had carried out Emily’s surgery, responded almost immediately to confirm suspected scoliosis.

Knowing they faced a year-long wait for a NHS referral, Brenda decided to return to Turkey with Megan for a consultation.

And after further assessment, they learned that Megan’s case was more severe than her sister’s had been.

“Megan has a thoracic 21 degree curve and a lumbar 39.6 degree curve. This actually makes her worse than Emily, as she’s near enough the same as Emily was when we was diagnosed at age 12 and Megan is only 10,” said her mum.

“When the consultant told me the degree of [the curve] I just sat there; it was unbelievable.

“They saw us on the Friday and by the Saturday, because of her age, they had a back brace ready for her, which was amazing.”

Despite swift action by the Turkish medical team, the family remain uncertain as to how well the brace will work for Megan.

“It might work for her, or it might hold things in place so that they don’t get any better or any worse. The third option is that it won’t help and she might still need surgery,” Brenda said.

In the meantime, Woodlawn Primary School pupil Megan is required to wear her back brace for up to 23 hours a day.

“It’s difficult for Megan; she had autism and ADHD, and at the minute she’s trying to work towards her AQE assessment,” Brenda added.

“She sees Emily doing well and she just wants to have the surgery too, but she doesn’t understand the severity of what Emily went through.”

Both Emily and Megan are due to return to Turkey in January for follow-up appointments to assess their progress.

The family are continuing a campaign to raise funds in the event that Megan should still require surgery, alongside ongoing medical costs for Emily.

For more information on the campaign visit Emily’s Journey on Facebook or the family’s JustGiving page.

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