For more than 100 years, we have been caring for children at the Hospital. Many ground-breaking surgeries have been performed here, and we have the largest concentration of orthopaedic expertise in Ireland.

If you have been referred to the hospital for treatment, be assured that our paediatric team of surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and allied health and social care professionals will work together to ensure you receive the best treatment and care. And we will look after your family, making sure they receive all the information and support they need to help you in your recovery.

What is the Musculoskeletal System?

The musculoskeletal system is made up of two systems, the muscular and the skeletal system (muscles and bones), which are connected by ligaments, joints, tendons and cartilage. This complex structure gives us shape and stability and enables us to move. If one or more of the system’s components become damaged it can affect our ability to walk, run and play. Moreover, we may find it difficult to do everyday tasks for ourselves, like washing, dressing, and eating. Some musculoskeletal conditions correct themselves without treatment, however, others require treatment and surgery.

Musculoskeletal Conditions

Some of the conditions we treat at the Hospital include:

  • Conditions that affect bone growth)
  • Cerebral palsy (damage to the area of the brain that controls movement)
  • Scoliosis and back abnormalities (curvature of the spine)
  • Foot deformities
  • Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip and joint socket)
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (a debilitating inflammatory disease)
  • Perthes (rare hip disorder, causing the cells of the upper thigh bone to die)
  • Injury caused by trauma

What is a Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon?

The word “orthopaedic” means to “grow straight”.  Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeons are highly-trained doctors who specialise in the treatment of young children. Working with patients during the formative years, our surgical interventions and treatments aim to correct musculoskeletal conditions that affect function, growth and development.

We treat a broad spectrum of conditions that are present at birth or have been caused by an illness or injury. Surgeries performed at the hospital include scoliosis, joint replacement and limb reconstruction. These surgeries make a real and positive difference to patients lives, alleviating symptoms and enabling greater ability and independence. Moreover, they contribute to long-term physical and emotional wellbeing.

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons

Mr. Connor Green

Prof. Damian McCormack

Ms. Noelle Cassidy

Mr. Paul Connolly

Consultant Anaesthetists

Dr. Brid McGrath

Dr. Brendan McGarvey

Dr. Frances O’Donovan

Dr. Kim Hunter

Dr. Nick Eustace

Nursing Staff

Ms. Margaret Philiips: Paediatric Liaison Nurse

Ms. Bairbre Webb: Paediatric Liaison Nurse

Ms. Anna Wade: Paediatric Orthopaedic Nurse Specialist, Limb Reconstruction Service

Ms. Liz Meleady: Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, Limb Reconstruction

Ms. Lisa Clooney: Paediatric Staff Nurse

Consider, if you will, that you are a hero or even a superhero, and that your medical condition is the villain of your story. Just as all superheroes battle to defeat their enemy, you must fight to overcome your challenges, and our army of medics will help you. Visualisation can give you the strength and power to succeed. Think of your treatment as the beginning of an epic journey, and wellness is the destination.

Preparing for Your Hospital Adventure

What to Do?

  • Remove nail varnish and jewellery
  • Shower or bathe the night before

What to Pack?

Mum and dad can help you to pack, and don’t worry if you forget something. We might be able to help, or a member of your family can bring it in later.

  • Pyjamas or nightdress
  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers (with good grips on the sole to prevent slipping)
  • Books for reading and activity books, and if you want to impress your teacher, and outsmart your friends at school, you could pack your school books
  • Games and toys, especially your favourite doll or teddy bear
  • Toiletries – Toothbrush, shampoo, deodorant
  • Mobile phone, charger and earphones so that you can keep in contact with your friends during your stay
  • Optional Extra: Emergency treat supplies!
  • Superpowers

Last-Minute Questions Anyone?

If you have a question about your surgery that you would like to ask the doctors or nurses, you are welcome to call us at the Hospital on  01 814 0468 between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

 

Your Adventure Starts Here:

Outpatient Department

Your adventure begins in our Paediatric Outpatient Department. This is a bright and vibrant place, where you will meet members of the Paediatric Team to discuss your medical condition and treatment.

During your appointment, you may have to undergo a superhero assessment which may include blood tests, xrays and MRI tests.

Radiology

The Radiology department uses advanced technology to take pictures of the inside of your body. These pictures will help the surgeon to identify problems and plan treatment. These tests don’t hurt, although the MRI machine can be quite noisy. Mum and dad can stay in the room with you.

Mum, if you are pregnant, please inform the staff or arrange for another adult to stay with your child during the x-ray.

Preoperative Assessment Clinic

If you require surgery, mum and dad will complete and return a children’s medical history questionnaire for review by a Paediatric Anaesthetist. An anaesthetist is a doctor that give special medicines to people so that they can sleep through their surgery and don’t feel any pain. You may be invited to attend the Hospital for a full superhero Preoperative Assessment.

On the day of the assessment, you will meet all of the people who will be looking after you during your stay at the Hospital. These include a Consultant Anaesthetist, Paediatric Nurse, Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist. They will prepare you for surgery, explain the procedure, discuss your recovery and answer any questions you might have. In addition, you may be asked to undergo blood tests and Xrays on the day.

The process can take up to 4 hours, and we recommend that you eat before arriving at the Hospital, and bring a snack and drink with you so that you can don’t lose your superpowers.

Admissions Department

On the day of surgery, you will check-in at the Admissions Department, located at the Hospital Entrance. Your mum and dad will come with you and we will check your details to ensure that they are correct, before bringing you to the day ward (day case procedures) or your hospital room (inpatient stay). And don’t forget to pack your superhero Pj’s!

The Day Ward: Day Case Procedures

If you are having a minor procedure and do not require an overnight stay, you will go to the day ward for treatment. You’ll fly through the process and be home in time for tea!

St Pauls Ward: Inpatient Stay

If you require an overnight stay, you will be given a private room with TV and Wifi on St Paul’s Ward and your mum or dad can stay with you. We will take care of you and look after your every need so that you can use your superpowers to heal yourself.

Accommodation for Parents

We request that one parent remains with a child at all times. As space is limited, we can only accommodate one parent and a charge of €15 per night applies for adult accommodation. Please notify the Ward Manager if you intend to stay at the Hospital.

Meals are available from the Restaurant, at an additional cost.  Orders for evening meals can be placed at the Restaurant Monday to Friday before 3 pm. Meals can be eaten in the Vending room before 5 pm, or in the patient’s room thereafter. Weekend meals must be ordered and paid for by 11 am on Saturday.

Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy Departments

During your stay and following your discharge from the hospital, you may require physiotherapy to improve your range of motion and strengthen your muscles.  The Physiotherapy Department will help you improve the part of your body affected by surgery and tell you how you can restore your superpowers.

You might also receive treatment from an Occupational Therapist. They use specialist equipment to help you regain lost skills so that you can be more independent.

Postoperative Care: Outpatient Department

When you are well enough, the Paediatric Orthopaedic Consultant will allow you to return home to continue your adventure to wellness. You may be invited back to the Outpatient Department so the team can check on your progress, remove stitches and casts, clean wounds, apply fresh bandages and ensure your superpowers are fully restored.

Surgery and a hospital stay can be frightening for children and teenagers, and they will look to you for reassurance. If you prepare your child in advance, they are likely to have a positive hospital experience which will benefit their recovery.

  • Tell your child that he/she is coming to the Hospital
  • Read stories about hospitals to them, and play doctors and nurses
  • Explain why they are attending and always connect the reason with a positive outcome
  • Invole your child in the preparation and packing, and be sure to include comfort toys, blankets and other items to put them at ease
  • If you are caught off guard by a question, defer answering it until you are comfortable and confident to do so, otherwise they will sense your discomfort and this may make them anxious
  • Always tell the truth. A child may require blood tests or x-rays. Explain the reason for the test, what is involved and how the test will benefit their treatment
  • Stay with your child at all times during their Hospital stay. If you have to leave the room for a short period, let them know when you will return. If you are leaving the hospital for a period, please arrange for another adult to keep your child company until you return

Membership of the Cappagh Kids Club is exclusive to young patients at the Hospital and comes with perks that include the best accommodation the Hospital has to offer, tasty food, VIP status on all the wards, access to toys, games and WiFi, and sole custody of the TV remote control!

You will meet other members of the Cappagh Kids Club over the course of your treatment. And you might be surprised to learn that some of these children are being treated for conditions similar to yours. It’s great to make new friends and share stories, and this will make your hospital experience an enjoyable one.

“When you decide not to be afraid you can find friends in super unexpected places”

Ms Marvel

Anaesthetist
A doctor that is trained to give special medications to patients so they can sleep through surgery and don’t feel any pain.

Biopsy
Doctors take a small sample of tissue from your body and examine it under a powerful microscope

Cannula
A thin tube that goes into your vein, ususally in your hand or at the elbow, which can be used to transport medicine into the blood stream or to remove fluid from the body

Cartilage
A connective tissue that covers and protects long bones at the joints

ECG – Electrocardiogram
A machine that measures the electrical activity around the heart through stickers which are placed on the chest

Femeral Head
The top of the femur bone (large thigh bone)

Fixator
A frame used in limb lengthening and reconstruction to encourage bone growth

HDU – High Dependency Unit
A special ward dedicated to patients who require extra care and attention following surgery

IV Line – Intravenous Line
A tube inserted into the vein to bring medicine and fluids into the bloodstream

Joint
The place where 2 bones come together to allow movement, e.g. wrist, elbow, ankle, hip, shoulder

Key Hole Surgery
Surgery that is carried out through a small cut or incision in the skin

Ligament
A band of tissue that connects one bone to another to form a joint

MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging
A large machine that is used to take pictures of the inside of your body

The Musculoskeletal System
2 systems, the muscular system and the skeletal system, that work together to give us our shape and stability, and enable us to move. These 2 systems are connected by joints, ligaments, tendons and cartilage.

Necrosis
Dead tissue and bone cells

Occupational Therapist
A person who helps people to recover after an injury, illness or surgery. Occupational therapsits help patients to do everyday tasks for themselves, like making a cup of tea, bathing and dressing

Orthopaedic Surgeon
A highly skilled surgeon who treats patients with musculoskeletal conditions that affect the bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and cartilage.

Osteotomy
A surgical cut to the bone

Perthes
A rare childhood condition of the hip. The blood supply becomes interrupted for reasons unknown, causing the femeral head bone to die.

Pharmacist
A person who is an expert on medicine

Phlebotomist
A person who takes blood samples for testing

Physiotherapist
A person who helps you to return to activity following surgery or an injury

Regression
Sometimes patients can experience a set-back in their recovery. This is known as a regression.

Sepsis
An infection in the blood stream

Tendon
A strong, flexible cord that attaches the muscle to the bone

LILY’S STORY

When Lily, a fun-loving eight-year-old girl from Cork, found a lump on her shoulder, her GP immediately sent her to the local hospital for a CT Scan. The results revealed a low-grade sarcoma, which is a cancerous tumour that originates in the bone and soft tissue. It was a very frightening and emotional time for Lily and her family.

Lily was referred to the National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh for treatment. The Hospital is home to the National Sarcoma Centre and has the greatest concentration of orthopaedic expertise in Ireland. Our Consultants specialise in the treatment of bone and soft tissue tumours.

We knew this family needed a lot of care and support. They were miles from home and coping with a shock diagnosis. As for Lily, at 8 years can struggle to understand the conversation, especially when medical terms are used, but she could sense the fear.

Our multi-disciplinary team of Paediatric Orthopaedic Consultants, nurses, and allied health and social care workers rallied around the family to help them through this difficult time. We explained the surgery in simple terms and offered emotional and practical support to Lily, and her mum and dad.

The staff at Cappagh took us through each step of what was required for surgery – this was of great comfort to us as we knew she was in good hands“. Rita, Lily’s Mum

We are delighted to report that the tumour and tissue margins were successfully removed in surgery. And following treatment, Lily returned to school and her fun-filled life six weeks later.

“Everything, from the moment we went to Cappagh was taken care of. They were our support system throughout that time and we cannot thank them enough” JOHN, LILY’S DAD

 AOIFE’S STORY

Former professional footballer and current assistant coach of Shamrock Rovers, Glenn Cronin, is no stranger to the National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh. He received regular treatment for sports-related injuries throughout a long and successful career. When he retired, he thought he’d seen the last of the Hospital.

“I had a lot of injuries. The treatment in Cappagh was always top-class. The people were always really professional and reassuring.”

However, in 2016, while holidaying with his family in Spain, Glenn’s 9-year-old daughter Aoife announced that she had an extra bone in her arm. On checking it, Glenn and his wife Emma discovered a lump and fear began to grip them.

Returning to Ireland, they wasted no time. Aoife came to the hospital for an x-ray, MRI and biopsy, and a week later, Mr Gary O’Toole, Orthopaedic Surgeon, removed her “extra bone”. Following laboratory analysis, the families worst fears were confirmed. The resected tumour was cancerous.

When a cancerous diagnosis is confirmed, fear envelopes the family and the patient, parents, and siblings react in their unique way. We understand the many emotions that surface in the wake of a shocking diagnosis. The Hospital’s medical excellence is complemented by genuine and empathic care and our multi-disciplinary team unite to offer support and care for each family member.

We helped Aoife, Glenn, Emma and her brother through this challenging time.

Since the surgery, we are delighted to report that Aoife has made a remarkable recovery and continues to go from strength to strength.

SARA’S STORY

When Sara Kelly consulted her GP in 2011 for a chest infection, she was surprised to learn that she was living with scoliosis, a condition that causes curvature of the spine in adolescents.

Sara was referred to Crumlin Hospital for regular check-ups to monitor the disease progression, and shortly after that, when the condition began to impact her life negatively, Sara elected for surgery. Three years on, the former under-14 Meath camogie player remained on the surgical waiting list.

In 2015, Sara was one of 5 patients transferred to the waiting list at National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh, and within five months she underwent spinal correction surgery. Two rods and 14 screws were inserted into Sara’s back to correct the curvature. The Hospital has an incredible Paediatric Orthopaedic Department committed to improving access to treatment and delivering better outcomes for young patients. Sara’s surgery was a great success.

“I gained 3 to 4 inches in height during my scoliosis surgery, and I’m no longer in pain. The recovery was tough but manageable, and I was home from the hospital after six days. I am living pain-free. Surgery has changed my life.”