Samantha Smith undergoes lifesaving operation in Arizona

Date published: 11 February 2019

Samantha Smith’s ‘lifetime fix’ operation has gone ahead today (Monday 11 February) in Arizona, United States of America.

After the hospital cancelled her first operation due to Barclays flagging the transaction to pay for surgery as fraudulent activity, Samantha’s lifetime fix in the USA was successfully re-scheduled and went ahead at approximately 12.30pm today (5am Arizona time).

Samantha flew out to Arizona on 17 January with her family for the original surgery set for 25 January. However, the lifesaving operation, which aimed to fuse her spine from the base of her skull through to her mid-back, was cancelled by the hospital after Barclays flagged the transaction as fraudulent, despite her pre-warning the bank about the movement of large amounts of money. 

Samantha, a psychotherapist and brave mum of two from Smithy Bridge, was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) in December 2016 - a genetic condition causing faulty connective tissue that can lead to further medical complications. 

Only months later, she was also diagnosed with Craniocervical Instability (CCI), a secondary condition linked to EDS that meant the ligaments in Samantha’s neck were too stretched and weakened to support her head, causing the top of her spine to squash her brainstem under the weight of her own skull. 

The operation today, which will remove all movement in her spine, has a higher success rate than any of her three previous surgeries in 2017, which at the time caused Samantha’s health to deteriorate further. 

In a recent video, Samantha explains how the surgeon in Arizona plans to stabilise her spine, and effectively her life, by using a ‘front and back’ method - stabilising her vertebrae with fusion and hardware from inside her throat and the back of the neck. 

Shortly before her surgery was due to begin, Samantha said: “It’s going to be a very long day for loved ones. 

“I’m scared but also excited at the thought of this being the beginning of our new life. 

“It’s a risky operation but a double reinforced spine won’t be collapsing any time soon!” 

How you can help Save Samantha 

Donations can be made via: 


Bank Transfer:  

Name: Save Samantha  
Account no: 90266248 
Sort code: 20-45-45 

Read more about Samantha's brave journey: 

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