Life saving surgery goes ahead in Spain for Northumberland woman unable to sit up

Melanie Hartshorn from Cramlington suffers complications from the genetic condition EDS Credit: Melanie Hartshorn from Cramlington suffers complications from the genetic condition EDS

A 31 year old woman from Northumberland has had life saving surgery in Spain.

Melanie Hartshorn has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, or EDS. It's a genetic condition that causes weakness in the connective tissue.

She is unable to sit upright due to her neck and spine being critically unstable. This causes fits, blackouts, nausea and intense pain.

This is the fourth time she has been to Barcelona for surgery to fuse parts of her spine to make it more stable.

In 2017 we first followed Mel to Spain for surgery to fuse her spine. She'd been bed bound for years.

She returned to Spain twice more, to repair loose screws in the metal fixtures in her neck and spine and also for further fusion of her lower spine.

Now after months of being able to sit up and go out in her wheelchair, her neck and spine have become dangerous unstable again - it's believed a asthma attack may have caused this last summer.

This procedure will fuse her spine solid from the base of neck neck to her pelvis

Her Mum, Molly updated her Facebook page to say Mel had had the operation and was now in ICU to begin her long recovery.

The family now face a bill of at least £50,000 that they are fundraising to pay

Mel had a 'halo' fitted to secure her neck and spine before the operation Credit: Mel's Mission To Live/Facebook

Mel was given special permission from the Spanish Embassy to fly to Spain on a private medical flight subject to a negative private COVID test.