Families struggle to get cannabidoil treatment in Wisconsin

CREATED Jun 1, 2014

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MILWAUKEE -- Dozens of people came together to raise money at the Sussex Bowl for Michelle Schultz and her two and half year-old son Tristen. Tristen has suffered from uncontrollable seizures since he was seven months old.

Schultz says she'll need thousands of dollars to help pay for all the medical costs, which includes cannabidoil, otherwise known as medical marijuana oil. Last month, it became legal in Wisconsin for children suffering from seizures to use cannabidoil. The problem is, it's nearly impossible to get your hands on it.

"My son could have a seizure right now and I could lose him," said Schultz. "I mean my son was having multiple seizures, 20-30 seizures a day with the pharmaceuticals. That's a good day."

Schultz and her son have moved out of the state because they're having such a tough time finding doctors or hospitals who provide cannabidoil. During the past week, Tristen has been treated with the medical marijuana oil in their new home out of state.

"The last six days he has been a totally different little boy, Schultz says, her voice cracking. "Just totally different."

Around Mother's Day, Tristen was hospitalized at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. In a statement, Children's Hospital noted the oil has not been approved by the FDA and staff are exploring its effectiveness. In part, the statement read, "In all cases, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is committed to providing the best and safest care for every child. We support our patients and families within the context of our authority. We rely on evidence-based treatments for care.... Since the oil is not approved by the FDA, what steps are taken during the manufacturing process to ensure it does not contain impurities that could cause harm. We very much understand the interest in cannabidoil and are deeply sympathetic toward families who would like to see if this is a viable option for their children. That is why we take the necessary steps to ensure this and any other new treatments are safe before we administer them."

Michelle Schultz thinks a hospital not distributing a legal medication is wrong and possibly deadly.

"It's ridiculous. We fought so hard to get it legalized and now they're making it even harder and it's here."