The British National Health Service will pay to have a seriously ill baby flown to the United States for medical treatment, not long after it denied the same service to Charlie Gard.
The Telegraph reports 7-month-old infant Oliver Cameron suffers from a rare heart tumor called a cardiac fibroma. Medical experts in the U.S. have successfully performed surgeries on babies with the same condition, and the NHS says Oliver can be flown to the U.S. for the surgery.
Initially, Oliver’s parents Tim and Lydia Cameron were raising money for his treatment themselves, but the NHS said this week that it will pay more than £150,000 (about $195,000) for his medical care, according to the report. He has been in the hospital since his birth.
Like Oliver, Charlie Gard had a rare disease and his parents raised more than $1.5 million to take him to the United States for an experimental treatment. However, in Charlie’s case, the hospital and courts refused to allow him to be transferred to another hospital for the treatment.
Charlie Gard died on July 28 after his life support was removed, following a lengthy court battle between his parents and hospital. He would have turned 1 year old on Aug. 4.
Here’s more from the report:
But experts have stressed that Oliver’s case is different because his procedure has been shown to work on similarly ill patients.
Doctors in Boston have agreed to operate on the baby, who was born with a rare type of heart tumour, after his first birthday in January.
The delay is intended to give Oliver the best chance of recovery after the treatment, although his medical team has said the trip could be brought forward if his condition worsens.
According to the NHS, Oliver will be allowed to go to the U.S. because there are no doctors in the UK who have the expertise to perform the surgery. Officials said they hope to send a doctor with Oliver to learn how to perform the rare procedure.
Here’s more from the report:
Oliver needs round-the-clock care to stabilise his heart rate, while an implant under his skin sends readings back to specialists at Southampton General Hospital, where he has been receiving treatment.
Specialists said removing the tumour would be “extremely high risk” because there was limited experience in treating his condition in the UK so they had decided to support his parents’ bid to find treatment elsewhere.
In Charlie Gard’s case, the chance of the experimental treatment working was slim, but his parents wanted to give him the chance anyway. They — and millions of others — believed Charlie’s life was worth the chance.
U.S. neurologist Dr. Michio Hirano, an expert in the field, previously said Charlie had an 11 percent to 56 percent chance of benefiting from the experimental treatment. However, when Hirano and a group of doctors examined Charlie in late July, they said he no longer had a chance of benefiting from the treatment.
After Hirano gave his final opinion, Charlie’s parents decided to end the legal battle to get their son experimental treatment. Based on the new evidence, the couple said Charlie’s condition had deteriorated too much and there no longer was any hope of the experimental treatment working.
Questions remain about whether Charlie could have benefited from the experimental treatment, had it not been delayed for months during the legal battle. The court battle began in March.