After baby Oliver Cameron was denied necessary medical treatment and funding by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), doctors in the United States were able to save his life.
Baby Oliver was born with a rare heart condition known as cardiac fibroma. The socialized healthcare system in the U.K. was not equipped to perform the necessary surgery to remove the non-cancerous tumor in his heart. Oliver would have to be put on a list to receive a heart transplant, and even then, he would only be expected to live to the age of 15, at the longest.
But due to the innovation and ingenuity of the United States, the necessary surgery was not only available, but had a 100% success rate at the Boston Children’s Hospital.
The NHS, however, initially refused to pay for the roughly $260,000 parents Lydia and Tim Cameron needed to fund the trip and procedure required to save their baby.
“No parent should have to bury their child,” Lydia said at the time, according to The Mirror. “For the NHS to say, ‘we’re sorry, we can’t help.’ is devastating.”
“We asked if the NHS could fly the surgeon over here, but he’s not licensed to operate in the UK,” she explained. “We asked if an English surgeon could learn the procedure, but they said no. So we must raise the money ourselves.”
“Our NHS consultant has said if Boston agreed to treat Oliver then we had to get him there.”
The couple did not have the funds to save Oliver, so they resorted to crowdfunding, opening a GoFundMe page and asking the public to donate.
After funding nearly $170,000 on their own and garnering international attention, the NHS’s hand was forced. The government finally announced that they would allow and fund the necessary surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Professor Dominic Wilkinson at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics said that the pressure was on the NHS to comply due to the recent case of U.K.-based baby Charlie Guard, who was denied medical treatment by the NHS despite other nations offering treatment. “I think the intense attention from the Charlie Gard case is likely to make those decision makers more conscious that they are under greater scrutiny and therefore that they have to be particularly careful in making a fair decision,” he told The Telegraph.
Thankfully, Boston Children’s Hospital was able to perform a successful surgery on 10-month-old baby Oliver in November of 2017. “When they told us Dr. del Nido had removed all of it, we were so happy we just burst into tears,” said mother Lydia, according to the hospital’s site.
Baby Oliver was saved from the pitfalls of socialism, treated by the brilliant surgeons in the U.S. and is thriving today.