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Colorado Springs family in limbo waiting on hospital's decision

June 16, 2015 Updated: June 16, 2015 at 4:05 am
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photo - Cora Stier, 8, is diagnosed with Macrocephaly-Capillary Malformation (MC-M) and is scheduled to have her tonsils and adenoids removed on Wednesday, while also having a vascular hemangioma removed form her tongue. A week before her daughter's surgery,Cora's mother Alicia Stier said Memorial Hospital Central officials told her to keep her cannabis-oil based seizure medication at home due to a new policy that has banned all medical marijuana use on campus grounds. Photo by Logan Riely, The Gazette
Cora Stier, 8, is diagnosed with Macrocephaly-Capillary Malformation (MC-M) and is scheduled to have her tonsils and adenoids removed on Wednesday, while also having a vascular hemangioma removed form her tongue. A week before her daughter's surgery,Cora's mother Alicia Stier said Memorial Hospital Central officials told her to keep her cannabis-oil based seizure medication at home due to a new policy that has banned all medical marijuana use on campus grounds. Photo by Logan Riely, The Gazette 

Memorial Hospital officials made no announcement Monday on whether they would allow cannabis-based oils - a popular treatment for many children suffering from debilitating seizures - onto its Boulder Street campus.

The issue arose after Memorial Hospital took over all pediatric operations from Children's Hospital Colorado on June 4 in the wake of a wide-ranging state and federal investigation into the two hospital systems.

Children's Hospital had often allowed parents to administer the oils in its ward at Memorial Hospital Central, though "patients need to be really sick," such as with terminal, chronic or debilitating diseases, and doctors could prohibit the oils at any time, a Children's Hospital spokeswoman said.

Memorial Hospital has had no such policy. Until Memorial Hospital's board of directors finalizes one, the decision on whether the oils on campus will be made "on a case-by-case basis," a hospital spokesman said.

The issue has left many parents fearful for the safety of their children, especially during long hospital stays.

For Alicia Stier, the lack of an announcement meant another day in limbo.

Stier - whose 8-year-old daughter, Cora, uses one such oil to treat seizures - said she was asked again Monday by a hospital official to delay her daughter's upcoming surgery while a policy is determined and implemented. And if they didn't delay, she likely couldn't use the oil.

Cora suffers from macrocephaly-capillary malformation, a rare disease that has proven frustratingly difficult to treat. Doctors have removed the right side of Cora's brain, only to see seizures appear on the left side a few months later.

Cora has a diet that's been useful in reducing seizures, but it's also caused other side effects. One oil, called Charlotte's Web, has been key in helping Cora start the long process of weaning off that diet.

Stier has fought delaying the surgery because Cora is healthy now - and the same can't be guaranteed in a week and a half.

But she has also fought to ensure that Cora receives the oil while at Memorial Hospital.

While the procedure calls for a 23-hour hospital stay, complications could lengthen that time frame - meaning more time without the oil.

"The last thing you want to do, if there is a complication, is take away a medicine that she's been needing for such a long time, and it helps her," Stier said.

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