Patient Stories

Seamus Kearney

  • 17/09/2023
Seamus Kearney

Seamus Kearney has been in pain for 50 years. Thanks to Healthcare Abroad he’s on the road to recovery after having specialist ankle replacement surgery in Madrid

It’s 50 years since Seamus Kearney tripped while out for a walk in Germany where he was working at the time. He went over on his ankle and he never really healed since the incident in 1973. At 71 he was told his ever-increasing pain wasn’t life-threatening so he’d have to wait years for surgery.

Then he called Healthcare Abroad – and underwent a total ankle replacement procedure with a specialist surgeon in Madrid. “My ankle was sore at the time of the accident. It slowly got better but it has been swollen ever since,” says Seamus, from Lorum in County Carlow (Pictured with our carer Sean). “In the last three years it has been giving me all sorts of bother. It has been very difficult to walk with it due to the pain which was getting worse all the time. Scans also showed I now had severe arthritis.

“I was told I’d have to wait for surgery in Ireland, maybe three or four years as it wasn’t life-threatening. But my ankle was life changing. I could hardly walk anywhere without crutches. “It had been suggested I go up to Belfast but it was very costly and I know people who went there and didn’t get their money back. I knew someone who had been with Healthcare Abroad to Spain so I made the call.” Seamus said the Healthcare Abroad team contacted specialists in the Spanish capital to get him the surgery he needed. “Within a few weeks I was in a top hospital in Madrid undergoing ankle replacement surgery; and then taken to Denia near Alicante for physio and recuperation afterwards,” says Seamus.

The level of service from Healthcare Abroad is incredible. The surgeons they have access to are world class. And I got to see a world class surgeon. “I am now looking forward to being back on my feet again and being able just to get about again and going for a walk without being in pain. It is going to make such a difference to my life.” Seamus travelled to Madrid with the agency Healthcare Abroad under the EU Cross Border Directive, a European law which gives every Irish citizen the right to travel to another EU country for healthcare with the HSE paying some or all of the costs. The agency organises hospitals inside the EU – in Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands – but doesn’t charge for its services. Patients pay hospitals, airlines and hotels directly.

Seamus adds: “I’d have no hesitation in recommending to anyone who needs surgery to use the EU laws to do so; and get an agency like Healthcare Abroad to do all the work for you, all your paperwork and all the transport whilst in Spain. It’s a no-brainer.”