Power-mad bureaucrats again
A SIX-year-old boy with only half a heart is dying as red tape prevents Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital surgeons giving him an operation and a chance to save his life. As well as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Nathan Garcia suffers from scoliosis - a condition that has deformed his spine and now places so much pressure on his arteries and lungs he is unable to undergo life-saving surgery to re-rout his half a heart before it stops beating.
Royal Children's orthopaedic surgeons had planned to place a new type of metal rod in Nathan's back to ease his scoliosis, improve his heart and lung function, and hopefully make him healthy enough to undergo the heart surgery. However, the hospital's New Technologies Committee has refused permission for the operation. It says processes have not yet allowed it to evaluate and approve the French-designed Phenix Rod for safe use, and instead Nathan has been placed in palliative care.
Nathan's distraught mother, Monique Garcia, said her son would be dead or too crippled for the operation before the red tape cleared, and was appealing for the decision to be reversed for a one-off operation. "They say it might be OK to use in a few months, but I'm terrified he'll be dead in two months," Ms Garcia said. "Normally I would accept the process of approval, and it is warranted, but it doesn't have a place in this situation - he is going to die anyway. "We have a surgeon who is wanting and trying to save his patient's life, but on the other side we have red tape, and I don't think anything should get in between a doctor and the welfare of their patient. He will die if he does not have this operation - and soon."
Royal Children's orthopaedic surgeon Dr Ian Torode and director of cardiac surgery Dr Christian Brizard met the Phenix Rod's inventor, Arnaud Soubeiran, in Paris last month to discuss Nathan's case.
Royal Children's spokeswoman Julie Webber said the committee was examining the use of the Phenix Rod and a decision about its suitability as a treatment for Nathan would be made in his best interests. "The decision will be made around what is in the best interests of the child," she said. [Dying is in his best interests?]
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