Northumberland woman returns home after fourth successful operation in Spain


Report by Amy Lea

31 year old Melanie Hartshorn has spent the last few weeks in Barcelona - having major surgery to try and stabilise her neck and spine - due to complications caused by the genetic condition Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS).

She's finally home though - after an ordeal she described as her most difficult yet.

This isn't the first time Mel has been to Spain for this type of operation.

After suffering seizures, near constant pain and the inability to sit up, she had her neck and spine fused in 2017 in her first major operation in Barcelona.

An asthma attack last summer caused her neck and spine to become unstable once more - damaging three previous procedures.

As a result, experts in Barcelona said the only option was to fuse her entire neck and spine solid.

The operation was a success, but a positive COVID test result - which turned out to be false - and a struggle to get flights home has meant that this has been the toughest trip yet for Mel.

Mel had to get a medical flight home Credit: Personal photo/ Facebook

A generous anonymous donation helped get them a medical flight home -but they are still fundraising to pay the nearly 90 thousand pounds for the operation and other costs so far.

Mel is now looking forward to getting though this list of things to do with her niece, getting her COVID jab and a new wheelchair.

She says this operation really needs to be a success and she'll be working on her recovery to get stronger each day.