BC Children’s Department Overrules Parents’ Opinion, Orders Surgery to Treat Rare Condition in Boy


The parents of a boy born with a rare condition affecting multiple body systems have been defeated in a last-minute effort to seek an injunction against inserting a breathing tube into his airway.

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Davis and Liina Lim’s fourth child, Theo, was born just over a year ago with a genetic condition known as VACTERL, which involves complex abnormalities of the vertebrae, kidneys, anus and esophagus.

Airway abnormalities can cause breathing difficulties, and doctors at BC Children’s Hospital, where Theo has been treated virtually since the day he was born, recommended a tracheotomy.

But Lim, who worked as a medical technician in the Canadian military and has spent countless hours in hospital caring for her son, objected and filed an injunction Monday, the day before her scheduled surgery. . The BC Supreme Court’s application was denied and the surgery was performed on Tuesday.

The doctors had previously applied for an interim custody order with the Ministry of Child and Family Development, so the decision was forced over the opposition of the doctors.

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“My wife and I knew he didn’t need it,” Lim said days later. “I’m sure he will breathe better if he doesn’t get surgery.”

“We wanted them to consider other treatments,” he says of the medical team. “Why are you piercing your throat?”

His parents have a house in the rural Salmon Arm, where Lim and his wife rarely return these days, but they have three girls with no health problems.

Theo’s journey has been uneventful and previous surgeries have not worked. He contracted the novel coronavirus just one month after his birth. It exacerbated his health problems, and the newborn was intubated and left to fight for survival.

Davis Lim and 1-year-old baby Theo the day after doctors performed a tracheostomy to help him breathe. Photo credit: Davis Lim /Facebook

Lim said the CT scan showed another threat. His windpipe was literally being crushed by the aorta. Surgery to correct it resulted in a secondary infection, which resulted in cardiac arrest and near-death. The baby had been on strong antibiotics for six weeks.

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Lim said disagreements with some of the doctors in charge of Teo’s care began even before he objected to this week’s surgery. He feels that some parents are overbearing and won’t listen to their opinions about what’s best for their baby.

Lim wonders how much antibiotics and inhibitors were prescribed during Teo’s treatment.

Tensions rose a few months ago to the point that doctors sought a custody order.

The unusual move came after Mr. Lim tested Teo’s tolerance for spending a night without a mask after a bath — a period of time he normally spends without a mask at all. Lim said he recorded a video of Theo without a mask for about 30 minutes in the presence of a nurse.

When shown the video the next day, doctors claimed Theo was in pain. Lim sees it differently, but the doctors called the ministry, claiming it was endangering the baby’s health.

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Lim claimed she didn’t know she was transferring full authority over Theo’s care when she signed the order and she regretted it was used to proceed with the tracheotomy. .

After the operation, Lim posted a photo of Teo with a breathing tube inserted, calling the operation a “farce” and lamenting that he didn’t “protect, protect, protect” Teo.

Despite being warned not to share anything on social media, Lim said he did not. Otherwise, visitation rights could be further restricted. He said he was already restricted to visiting twice a week and was no longer allowed to be present when doctors discussed Theo’s treatment.

A ministry spokeswoman said interim protection was always a last resort and that it was “very rare” to do so to provide medical care. For privacy reasons, no one wants to discuss the details of Theo’s case.

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However, the ministry-protected law says it should only take place “when a treatable disease is likely to seriously impair a child’s development and the child’s parents refuse to provide or consent to treatment.” This opinion must be confirmed by two physicians only “to save the child’s life or prevent serious or permanent impairment of the child’s health.”

Lim remains critical of the surgery, but said he hopes to clear the air at a protective hearing later this month and restore access so he can care for the baby.

He said Teo was in good condition but the boy was heavily sedated and had some post-operative symptoms. While his custody order is in place, he will not be released from the hospital into the care of his parents.

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“We are just angry,” said Lim, who says he feels neglected by the system. “I have no freedom, no protection, nothing after all,” he says. “I just hope (this predicament) doesn’t happen to other parents.”

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