Davis

Davis was the first patient who had to go beyond the European Union to save his live and get the necessary medical help.

Dāvis is a fantastic 9-year old boy who up to May 2014 had a carefree childhood: went to school, played chess, fooled around with his friends and nursed his little three year old sister. One day in May Dāvis complained on exhaustion and difficulty to breathe; he was taken to the family doctor who immediately referred him to the hospital, because he had noticed inexplicable increase in size of the abdominal cavity. Up to late in November, Dāvis stayed in the Surgery of the Children's Clinical University Hospital. The patient was diagnosed with a grave combined pathology due to incorrect lymphatic outflux from the organs of the abdominal cavity, leading to irreversible metabolic disorders and immunodeficiency syndrome. Without immediate help, in most cases the outcome would be lethal.

Children's hospital in Philadelphia - the only chance

Doctors at the Children's Hospital had performed several medical manipulations, including attempted surgery to correct the lymphatic outflux, alas, without the expected result. As lympography is not performed in Latvia, the therapeutic capacities of the Children's Hospital had run out, and help from abroad was needed.

The attending doctor continuously was keeping in touch with his peers in paediatric surgery clinics in Europe who acknowledged that the disease is very complicated, and Children's Hospital in Philadelphia was the only one that agreed to admit the patient. The Children's Hospital, following the recommendations by colleagues in Europe, had already contacted this clinic and received a confirmation that the patient would be admitted.

Being aware of the high treatment costs of USD 427 000, as quoted by the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, the Children's Hospital had been looking for alternatives, however, with no success. Given the critical state of the patient, the sole and the best solution for the patient would be going to the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia as soon as possible, to get the medical aid that would save his life.

The state refuses the help

Dāvis was one of the patients who needed medical help that he could get only outside Latvia. Most often the doctors of the Children's Hospital succeed in finding a clinic in Europe where to refer the patient, therefore the rest of the expenditures – travel for the child, a parent, donor and in some serious cases also for a doctor who escorts the child during the trip to the clinic, the costs of a parent staying in the clinic, repeated consultations with the attending doctor abroad and sometimes also the cost of laboratory tests can be met by the Children's Hospital Foundation.

This was the first patient who had to go outside the European Union and EEA, and whose medical treatment costs were that high, therefore a funding request was submitted to the National Health Service.

On 27 November an official decision was received from the National Health Service (NHS), refusing to financially support the treatment of 9-year old Dāvis, thereby denying the child of the chance to be treated at the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia.

Only together we are strong!

The Children's Hospital Foundation launched an extraordinary campaign to save Dāvis' life and health; as a result, EUR 317 173.95 was raised in a couple of days, and the government agreed to granting EUR 100 thousand towards Dāvis' treatment in the USA.

On 16 December, early in the morning, Dāvis together with his mother and the escorting medical staff departed for the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, USA. On 18 December the boy had a surgery that took 8 hours; Olafs Volrāts, Dāvis' attending doctor from the Children's Hospital, also participated. The surgery was successful, and already at the end of December the drains were removed, and Dāvis could walk without being assisted – after a next to a half-year interruption. Dāvis' treatment resulted in unexpected rapid improvement in health, and already early in January Dāvis was discharged from the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and returned to Latvia together with his mother on 8 January 2015. The specialists still have not ceased to investigate what caused the grave health problems for Dāvis.

Dāvis feels himself well, and from the beginning of March he has resumed the rehabilitation programme at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Vaivari. As to his studies, right now Dāvis is learning at home according to the school curriculum and in close cooperation with his school, because the season of viral infections is not yet over and Dāvis' immunity is still very low.

Baiba Januša, Dāvis' mother: "Sincere thanks to everybody who stood by us in these difficult times and supported and helped – first of all the doctors and nurses of the Children's Hospital, and very special thanks to Dr. Volrāts, Dāvis' attending doctor. Many thanks to the girls from the Children's Hospital Foundation for their responsiveness and care, which we felt here in Riga as well as in Philadelphia. And most heartfelt thanks to absolutely all good people who donated, kept their fingers crossed and wished Dāvis to get well! All parents will surely understand how grateful I am for the help and for saving my child's life!"