Patient Stories

Elaine Bermingham

  • Hip Replacement
  • 06/10/2023
Elaine Bermingham

I went to Spain twice with Healthcare Abroad. They fixed me.

HSE worker Elaine Bermingham had been in pain for a number of years until a friend gave her a number for Healthcare Abroad. Elaine returned home to County Kildare at the weekend after undergoing her second hip replacement in Denia, Spain. She underwent her first operation back in March.

This is Elaine’s story:

“I first started getting pains in my back in 2016. We thought it was sciatica and I was put on a cocktail of medicines, painkillers, anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxant. “On and off for the next few years, the pain was always in the base of my back. I never had any x-rays. Around 2019 it started to get really bad and I was limping by this stage. I did have a bulging disc in the base of my back and I went and got heat laser treatment for that. I thought that would resolve it.

“Then Covid hit and for two years I was stuck. I was in pain. It got worse and worse. “As the Covid issue subsided I paid €150 for a full body scan at a private clinic in Nass. They put me on a treadmill and scanned my actions as I was walking. It was well worth it. “I was told I had a pelvic tilt and it was titled 8 degrees which is high, I was told. The clinic expert was able to tell me how I walked and how I was walking on the side of my foot rather than my heel. “He gave me the report and I took it to my GP. I was referred to orthopaedics. I rang every private consultant in the country to try to get an appointment and the earliest I could see anyone privately was 9 months.

“I was prepared to travel anywhere. My GP was excellent. I was referred for an MRI and I was told my hip was scuppered. I got a cancellation appointment in a private hospital in Dublin and he asked me why I had taken so long to go and see someone. “I checked my VHI insurance and it didn’t cover me to go private to the hospital I wanted to go to. So I went on the public list, and I was in excruciating pain by that stage. I was on lots of drugs including morphine. My mental health was seriously affected. I was on mood enhancers for a while and they were being increased all the time. “I had worked in a previous job in the HSE and there used to be a system where you could call the National Treatment Purchase Fund if
you had been on a waiting list for 6 months and you could self-refer for treatment. “I contacted a former colleague and I was told you couldn’t do that anymore; that the hospitals decided who was seen through that fund. “The former colleague gave me a link for Healthcare Abroad, and advised I’d be looked after much faster in Spain (under the EU Cross
Border Directive).

“This is my second time in Spain. Dr Lopez did my first hip replacement in March; this time Dr Jordy carried out the operation. “The level of service provided by Healthcare Abroad is absolutely exceptional; from the first call way back in February right through until now – a second hip replaced and 10 more amazing physio sessions later.

“I want to thank Chris. He was always available to answer my calls. I also want to thank all the drivers in particular Suzanne and Sean and Scott and Kevin. “People need to know they can access this service – and that the Credit Union is there to help finance it – and that you get your money back from the HSE. I want to sincerely thank everyone at the HCB Hospital and at Healthcare Abroad for everything. The level of care isamazing.”