A lifeline for Oliver: NHS makes U-turn and says it WILL fund life-saving operation for youngster's rare heart condition
- Six-month-old Oliver Campbell has a cardiac fibroma, a tumour in the heart
- His parents Lydia and Tim have been raising cash for him to have surgery in USA
- But despite being told it was 'near impossible' the NHS will now fund treatment
- His is one of three known cases of cardiac fibroma in the UK and 200 globally
A baby boy whose family have been raising money for life-saving surgery in the US will now have his treatment paid for by the NHS.
Health bosses had been unwilling to fund the operation for Oliver Cameron’s extremely rare heart condition as it is not available in the UK. But they have now changed their mind and agreed to meet the £150,000 cost.
Six-month-old Oliver has cardiac fibroma, a large tumour in the heart. His is one of only three known cases in the UK and 200 around the world.
His parents Lydia and Tim were told it was ‘near impossible’ that the NHS would pay for surgery abroad.
Lydia Cameron with her six-month-old son Oliver, whose treatment for a tumour in his heart will now be paid for by the NHS
Six-month-old Oliver has cardiac fibroma, a large tumour in the heart. His is one of only three known cases in the UK and 200 around the world
They found that Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts had treated around 20 babies with the condition, with a 100 per cent success rate, and had been trying to fund the US operation themselves, raising £140,000 through an online appeal.
Last night the couple, first-time parents from Wantage, Oxfordshire, told of their relief at the U-turn. They wrote on social media: ‘It appears due to generous public support... and the persistent support of Oliver’s consultant that this change of decision has been confirmed.’
Mrs Cameron, 28, who works in the legal profession, said: ‘We are just pleased that [NHS England] are now supporting us. We were told it was highly unlikely. The consultant appealed but we were constantly being told no. It has been an absolute roller coaster.’
Police officer Mr Cameron, 30, admitted: ‘We were a bit shocked.’ His wife added: ‘In an ideal world it would be a lot less stressful. We just feel it has been an added pressure. It has been hard on us. We are overwhelmed by the support of the public. For complete strangers to help us, we are so grateful from the bottom of our hearts.’
Oliver was born in January weighing 7lb 5oz but struggled to breathe and was taken into intensive care.
He was subsequently diagnosed with the tumour, which causes his pulse to race dangerously fast.
Lydia and Oliver, in hospital together when he was a few days old. He was born in January weight 7lb 5oz but struggled to breathe and was taken into intensive care
He needs medication four times a day and his parents have to monitor his heart rate and carry a defibrillator at all times.
In the first sixth months of his life Oliver’s heart has had to be shocked three times. Emergency medication was given to save him on another three occasions.
The NHS could have offered a heart transplant but Oliver would have been unlikely to survive into adulthood.
He will travel to America for surgery /when he turns one in January but may have to fly sooner if his health deteriorates.
The NHS is considering also sending a surgeon along with the family to learn from the doctors in America. Mrs Cameron added: ‘It is for future babies too. He is not going to be the last to have this condition. Other parents won’t have to go through the stress.’
Oliver playng at home with his toys, left, and in hospital with receving treatment through a series of wires, right
NHS England said: ‘The application identified there is not currently a surgical service in the UK with experience of treating this exceptionally rare condition and we have therefore agreed to fund Oliver’s treatment abroad.’
The spokesman denied there had been a U-turn, adding that the NHS had received only one official request for the funding in this case, and it was approved.
It follows the tragic case of Charlie Gard.
He died last month after his parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, took Great Ormond Street Hospital to the High Court in an unsuccessful bid to be allowed to take him to America for experimental treatment in a bid to halt a rare degenerative genetic disorder.
Experts have stressed that Oliver’s case is different because his procedure has been shown to work on similarly ill patients.
Mrs Cameron said: ‘We related with Connie and Chris. It broke out heart.
‘We would fight to the end to get what [our child] needed.’
It follows the tragic case of Charlie Gard, who died last month after a long public battle by his parents
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