Miracle operation gives Irishman new life
“When she told me this I just broke down. I started to cry and told her that this man was almost suicidal. She said, ‘I beg your pardon.’ I repeated myself again and she said, ‘That isn’t for me to deal with, contact your GP.”
It was a neighbor that suggested the Byrnes contact a member of their family in New York, John Lambert, who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s.
Lambert was in fact in Ireland in January and met with Paddy and Sandra. He said he knew a great doctor who might be able to point them in the right direction.
As soon as Lambert got back to New York (he resides in Yonkers, New York with his wife Chris) he was on the case. Within a few days, Lambert requested that Byrne send over his MRI scan. He did.
A micro-neurosurgeon by the name of Dr. Richard Radna at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Yonkers said he could fix Byrne.
“I’ll never forget the day that John called to tell us he had found someone. Paddy was very depressed that day. The smile that came over his face after receiving the news was so wonderful,” said Sandra.
“Just for someone to actually believe that he was in pain and that it wasn’t in his head was such a huge relief for him.”
Although slightly apprehensive, Byrne said he was willing to take the chance.
“I would have done anything at that stage to get rid of the pain,” admitted Byrne.
He was slightly worried about paralysis after the operation, but because the pain was so bad he was willing to take the risk.
“Well,” said Sandra, “It was either take the risk of the operation and possibly being in a wheelchair or living with awful pain and on his knuckles and knees for the rest of his life.”
The Byrnes sold ten acres of land to pay for the expensive operation. After a few weeks of preparation (blood tests etcetera) in Ireland, Byrne, Sandra and their youngest child, Sarah, 9 (they have two older children in their twenties) were on a plane bound for New York.
Unfortunately for Byrne the journey was extremely difficult. He had to kneel on the floor for the seven-hour flight. His pain didn’t allow him to sit on a seat.
The trio arrived in New York on Monday, March 9, and two days later the Co. Wicklow man was under the knife at the hands of Dr. Radna.
After another two days, Byrne walked out of St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers a new man. His pain was gone and his spirits had lifted.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Byrne. “I was walking normal again and the pain was gone.”
Sandra said she “can’t say enough about how wonderful” Dr. Radna was to the family.
“He was waiting for us when we arrived the first day with open arms down in the lobby. There himself waiting and he gave us a hug. Just a fantastic man that cured my husband,” she said.
“Dr. Radna rang us about four times every day for the first week and then about five times the next week,” said Sandra, blown away by the professionalism of the surgeon.
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