A Nelson teenager who was granted special dispensation to use medical cannabis has been taken off life support and is now breathing on his own.
“He breathes all by himself now with no help,” Alex Renton's mother Rose Renton says today.
"His heart is strong and his lungs are strong.”
It’s a big development for Alex, who has been lying in Wellington Hospital in an induced coma for two months, in “status epilepticus”, a kind of prolonged seizure.
For nine days, Alex has been receiving cannabis oil treatment Elixinol, brought in from the United States with special government approval.
Alex’s family has asked doctors to increase the doses of cannabis oil. He will be now given the oil four times a day.
They have also asked the hospital to “gently” reduce Alex’s anti-epileptic drugs.
“Alex could be woken very slowly if the seizures stop,” says Ms Renton.
“His sedation level is still high.”
Brain scans have shown Alex is still experiencing seizures. He is able to open his eyes but cannot communicate.
“I take each day as it comes, and trust Alex knows what he needs,” says Ms Renton.
“Today he is stronger, as the room is quiet. There is no monitoring and beeping, less medication and more rest.”
Alex’s six siblings will be spending the weekend with him at Wellington Hospital.