Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) Chief Executive Eilish Hardiman said she can't remember having conversations with any consultant about using non-approved springs in spinal surgeries.
CHI appeared before the Oireachtas Health Committee to discuss the recent scandal surrounding spinal surgeries in Temple Street Hospital.
A review last week found post-surgical complications and infection in children undergoing spinal surgery, including two serious incidents and the death of one patient.
Ms Hardiman said the use of unapproved springs in these surgeries was “truly shocking”.
“Members of course will be concerned about the unauthorised use in spinal surgeries of unapproved non-medical grade devices, in other words springs,” she said.
“This is an unprecedented occurrence and is truly shocking.
“The facts around these matters will be the subject of a serious investigation.”
Letter on experimental surgery
A letter obtained by Sinn Féin and read aloud in the Dáil yesterday claimed discussions around experimental spinal surgeries at Temple Street Hospital took place as far back as 2020.
Questioned by Social Democrat TD Roisin Shortall, Ms Hardiman could not definitively say she had not discussed the use of springs in surgeries with consultant being investigated.
“I'm going to ask you for the fifth time - are you saying today you had no discussion with any consultant about the possible use of these springs,” Deputy Shortall asked.
“I can’t remember any discussion,” Ms Hardiman responded.
She said she has “no evidence of having received a letter” and only became aware of the letter seeking her guidance on the subject last month.
Green Party TD asked who was in charge of the procurement that faciltated the use of springs in surgery.
CHI chief medical officer Dr Allan Goldman said many in CHI have been asking that question themselves.
“We are as perplexed as you about all of this. This is such an unusual thing to happen,” he said.