Bed-ridden British woman travels to Spain for life-saving surgery

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A YOUNG woman from Northumberland, who has to lie down flat all the time, has flown to Spain for life-saving surgery.

Melanie Hartshorn, who is 27, needs an operation which will fuse the base of her skull to her spine, to prevent her from suffering fatal brain damage.

A neurosurgeon in Barcelona has agreed to take on Melanie’s case at a cost of £80,000.
‘It’s been a bit of a nightmare because we’ve had to organise medical flights with a nurse and a doctor and to take all my equipment over and all my medication and that has cost a lot more money than expected so we still have to raise quite a lot of money to cover the cost of the flights for the flights home as well.’
‘I’m nervous but grateful and I am relieved that it is finally happening and that we have the date now and we’re hoping to be away for about 5 weeks and then hopefully come home.’
‘It’s like a long recovery from the surgery because it is a big operation so we just have to see how it goes.’

Melanie suffers from a rare genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
It means her joints dislocate and can’t hold her body together. As a result, she is completely bed-bound as the risk of irreversible damage from even minor movements is very high.

The surgery is a risky procedure that will involve fusing the base of Mel’s skull to her spine, to prevent irreversible fatal brain damage.

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