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Editor's Viewpoint

'Miracle' of Holly is down to superb NHS

Viewpoint


Holly Mercer

The health service gets more than its fair share of brickbats directed at it. Critics often forget that it is a service under tremendous pressure, not just from the growing demand of patients, but also because of lack of resources, both human and financial.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown the value of the NHS.

The dedicated staff at all levels have selflessly put themselves in the front line to save lives.

So today we are happy to bring a positive story about the work of the health service.

Holly Mercer is a happy two-year-old toddler. Her development owes everything to the skill of clinicians.

When Holly was born at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine it was discovered her skull had fused in the womb.

Without intervention it would not have allowed her brain to grow as she got older, causing very serious developmental problems.

One can only imagine the trauma that caused mum Judy as doctors decided how to proceed.

As she says, the day an operation was carried out on Holly's skull at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool passed in a blur.

Little wonder, as doctors had to remove the top of Holly's skull and remodel it before replacing it.

This is the stuff of science fiction, but it is what these highly skilled medics do on a frequent basis.

The risks are enormous but are balanced by the ability of the doctors to carry out such delicate procedures.

Holly will require further surgery in years to come, but she is testament to the miracles that are performed so often in hospitals all over the UK - and at no cost to those who benefit.

The NHS, without doubt, is the greatest service that any government provides for the public, and too often we complain about its deficiencies - which are no fault of those who work in it - and too seldom we sing its praises.

What the coronavirus pandemic has shown is that the NHS was denied the resources it so desperately needed down the years and disaster was only averted because staff went far beyond the call of duty.

This is a lesson that we all must take to heart and ensure that politicians keep their promises to fund and staff the NHS to the levels required so that it can continue to perform miracles - like the treatment of little Holly.

Belfast Telegraph