When Oliver Cameron was born on January 31 this year, he had extreme difficulty breathing. Doctors had been concerned by his lack of growth in the womb during the latter stages of pregnancy but scans at 34 and 37 weeks did not pick up an abnormality so it was devastating to his parents, Tim, a response police constable from South Oxfordshire, and Lydia, that he had a huge tumour growing within his heart.
The Cardiac Fibroma is believed to be about the same size as his heart and inside the left ventricle.
His mother Lydia says when he came out he was very blue; doctors had to immediately help him with the oxygen hand pump.
“They noticed he had a grunt, which is a strong sign of cardiac issues, he was rushed down to the neo-natal intensive care unit and they did a scan that evening.”
Oliver was diagnosed as having a very rare condition that has only been seen within the UK on a handful of occasions.
It took a while to conclude from an MRI scan that the tumour was inside the left ventricle, leaving doctors in a dilemma over how to treat him.
Since then, Oliver has had five episodes of Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) – a potentially fatal condition that leads to the heart beating out of sinus rhythm. After three episodes Oliver had to be defibrilated to bring his heart back into rhythm. Luckily, during the other two he self-corrected.
Oliver has been allowed home after his close family were trained how to use a defibrillator but Oliver spends much of his time travelling to various medical centres and hospitals across the south of England.
Meanwhile, his father has had to go back to work on shifts while trying to raise money to pay for Oliver to get treatment in the US.
He explained that due to the rarity of his condition not many medical professionals in the UK have seen it let alone successfully treat it.
“We have also been told the NHS are not willing to risk trying to remove the tumour. Having done some research and contacted Boston’s Children’s Hospital, where 20 children with the same condition have been successfully treated since 1993, we have been told they will be able to assist us with Oliver’s treatment.”
However, the youngest child to have been operated on with a Cardiac Fibroma was five months old. So Oliver faces the risk posed by further episodes of VT or an operation to remove the tumour at such a young age.
Doctors have put Oliver on beta blockers to stop his heart rate getting too high and Amiodarone to keep his heart in rhythm. While he has been on this medication he has had two small VT episodes but thankfully has not needed the defibrillator.
“It appears they are working to the extent that they’re manageable, but he is still having episodes,” said Mrs Cameron.
The parents maintain an exhaustive 24/7 medication and monitoring regime, defibrillator at the ready, until they hear when they can take Oliver to Boston to have his operation.
A consultation in two weeks’ time will help determine when that will be, but the date is certain to be before September. Meanwhile PC Cameron and his wife face the tough task of raising the funds to pay for the surgery.
Mrs Cameron said: “The younger he is, the more dangerous and high-risk the surgery, but at the same time doctors are of the opinion that the risk of a fatal VT is just as high as the surgery, so we just have to be guided by them as to when is best.
“It is a constant worry that any time his heart goes into VT it could be fatal. We just have to monitor him constantly; it is worrying to deal with it but that’s our reality now until we can get him the surgery. Our job is to keep him as stable as we can and raise the money as quick as we can.”
Police Professional is supporting the Thames Valley Police officer’s campaign to raise the £200,000 needed until the target is reached.
As we go to press, the Camerons’ friends, colleagues and family have pledged over £37,000 towards that target and we are asking readers to dig deep and help them get Oliver his much-needed treatment.
You can support Oliver by clicking here