The small Matteo still awaiting brain surgery

Because of space ICU CHU Sainte-Justine, the operation was postponed for nearly three weeks. Concerned, his parents fear paralysis.

On May 26, the small Mattéo Lavigne, 3 years old, was undergoing major brain surgery at the University Hospital (CHU) Sainte-Justine, to cure a disease causing her scoliosis. But for lack of space in intensive care, the institution had to postpone his operation. A situation that shocks the parents of the child.

“If we do not operates quickly, scoliosis may increase. And eventually he may be paralyzed. It makes no sense to postpone his operation ever! “Pleads the mother, Marie-Pierre Lavigne.

Just a few months Matteo’s parents sought medical attention because their son had scoliosis. After passing several tests to the child, doctors CHU Sainte-Justine discovered water in his spinal cord.

On May 11, a neurosurgeon explained to Matteo’s parents that their son had to be made quickly to the brain. “Basically, the cerebellum is out of his skull and into his spinal cord, so that water is not able to move and gets stuck in her marrow,” says Ms. Lavigne.

While waiting to be operated on, Matteo must wear a brace 22 hours a day to contain her scoliosis.


Initially Mattéo needed surgery May 24 Then the intervention was given to May 26 That day, Matteo and his parents showed up early at the CHU Sainte-Justine, not without having coordinated the care of their other son 5 years.

The father of Matteo had taken a week off for the occasion. Ms. Lavigne had meanwhile taken sick leave because his son had to spend several weeks recovering from the operation. The intervention that must undergo Matteo is important: out of the operating room, he will stay in intensive care.

26 morning, the stress was at its height in Lavigne. “We had hardly slept. It’s a big operation that involves risk of complications, “says Ms. Lavigne.

To the dismay of the family, the transaction eventually did not take place. “We were told that there was no room in intensive care to accommodate Matteo after surgery and therefore it was given,” said Ms. Lavigne, who said he had “the taste of collapse “. “How could it be subjected to relatives and a little 3 year old? It’s inhuman, “she says.

Ms. Lavigne is not angry against doctors who do their best, she said.

“This is the system that is inhumane. We seem not to understand that postpone surgery, it forces whole families to have to constantly reorganize. It upsets our lives. And in addition, we are left constantly in uncertainty. ”
Marie-Pierre Lavigne
Crunch time for Matteo, according to his mother, who feared that his condition is deteriorating.

“Our health care system is currently on life support. I know I’m not the only one to live it, but in a society like ours, that should not even happen, “argues Ms. Lavigne.


CHU Sainte-Justine, it is explained that the case of little Matteo was considered “non-urgent” and that other cases had to be prioritized.

“There are no closed intensive care beds. It operates at full capacity. But children who were more urgent had to be admitted, “said the spokesman of the institution, Melanie Dallaire.

The Sainte-Justine UHC provides Matteo operate Monday.

This is not the first time a lack of intensive care beds because the operations report. In 2015, The Press reported a similar story.

In 2007-2008, the Minister of Health, Gaétan Barrette, then president of the Federation of Medical Specialists of Quebec (FMSQ), denounced the lack of intensive care beds after making a tour of operating theaters in the province.

President of the FMSQ, Dr. Diane Francoeur says the issue is “still relevant” and that “we must fix this” because “these situations are extremely difficult for patients and their families.” Dr. Francoeur says doctors want to “treat people in a timely manner.”

FMSQ hopes to have an answer from the Ministry of Health to conduct a new joint tour operating theaters of the province to draw up an inventory and learn from best practices.

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