'You’re alive, you survived it…' Melanie Hartshorn out of coma after major surgery in Spain

“You’re alive, you survived it… congratulations.”

Those are the words from two doctors who have been treating a woman who has spent months abroad having life-saving treatment to stabilise her neck and spine.

Melanie Hartshorn, from Cramlington, in Northumberland had the second part of the operation on Friday 11 February.

The 33-year-old is now out of an induced coma in hospital in Barcelona, in Spain, following the 10 hour procedure to re-stabilise her neck and spine.

Ms Hartshorn has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and complications from the condition - which causes weakness and hyper mobility in the joints - mean she has suffered for years with seizures, nausea, dizziness and pain.

She has been unable to sit up and spent what is believed to be the longest time in the world for a patient still alive in a medical halo - a device to keep her neck and spine stable.

In October 2022 Ms Hartshorn had the first part of the operation to fix broken screws and instability in the spine and neck.

Mel Hartshorn has been waiting for the second half of an operation she needed to stabilise her neck and spine since October 2022. Credit: Melanie Hartshorn

Following a long spell in intensive care, surgeons had decided she was not strong enough to have the rest of the procedure until her body had time to rest.

After waking up from the induced coma she was placed in following the surgery, Ms Hartshorn posted on social media that it had been a "tough day" but thanked her supporters back home, who have been following her updates.

Earlier this year, her mum Molly was diagnosed with heart failure after suffering symptoms while in Barcelona to caring for her daughter.

She is continuing to try and fundraise to cover the cost of an extended stay in Spain as well as the operation - the cost of that alone believed to be in the region of £70,000.

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