22 Dec 2022

Baby at centre of vaccinated blood stand-off discharged from hospital after life-saving surgery

6:09 pm on 22 December 2022

By Rachel Maher of NZ Herald

e Whatu Ora is taking a case against parents who are refusing to allow blood from vaccinated people to be used during their baby's life-saving heart operation.

The parents' lawyer, Sue Grey, says Baby W recovered "much faster than expected". Photo: RNZ / Mohammad Alafeshat

The baby at the centre of a stand-off over the use of vaccinated people's blood has been discharged from Starship children's hospital and will continue to recover at home, the New Zealand Herald understands.

The parents' lawyer, Sue Grey, confirmed to the Herald this afternoon that Baby W recovered "much faster than expected" and she understands he was now back at home with his family.

"The family and Baby W team would like to thank the amazing public and expert support from all over New Zealand and all around the world," Grey said.

The lifesaving heart surgery took place on 9 December. Baby W was born premature and had an obstruction in his right ventricle and needed an operation to fix it.

The surgery reportedly took half a day and was successful. Baby W's father stayed with him through the night and his mother went home to care for their other children and to sleep.

This could signal the end of an intense battle between the family of the baby and health officials that became a cause célèbre for anti-vaccine activists and has drawn global media attention.

His parents wanted the surgery to go ahead but opposed their child receiving transfused blood from vaccinated donors. Instead, they wanted blood used from unvaccinated people they had sourced.

On 7 December, Justice Ian Gault ruled in favour of health authorities who had sought court guardianship of the baby boy to enable the surgery to go ahead.

Justice Gault delivered his ruling after a lengthy hearing on 6 December, where Te Whatu Ora-Health New Zealand and Grey locked horns in the High Court at Auckland as anti-vax protesters gathered outside.

Te Whatu Ora Auckland interim director Dr Mike Shepherd told the Herald in a statement extra security measures had been implemented at Starship to ensure clinical teams could continue to provide patient care and allow families to visit their loved ones.

Auckland health authorities confirmed they trespassed one person from hospital facilities after tensions rose and protesters gathered outside Starship hospital to protest.

Protesters outside Starship Hospital supporting the parents of a baby who are trying to prevent his surgery because they do not want blood from any who has had the Covid-19 vaccine to be used.

Protesters stood outside Starship Hospital supporting the parents of the baby on 9 December, 2022. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

The day before the surgery, on 8 December, police uplifted the critically ill baby so he could prepare for his surgery after his parents objected to doctors' and officers' attempts to carry out the operation.

Grey had earlier told the Herald the issue had not gone away just because the operation had been completed.

"It is a much bigger issue about the lack of informed consent and the lack of respect of the medical system for the views of the patient," she said.

"We have got to have a bit of time and a deep breath and obviously the priority is getting baby back home and healthy but there are certainly a lot of medical issues and legal issues that need a good look."

Te Whatu Ora has been approached for comment.

*This story was originally published by the NZ Herald.

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