Gold Coast Hospital Foundation launches Christmas Giving Tree appeal to help save critically ill patients like Sky.
Thanks to the efforts of Gold Coast University Hospital staff and vital equipment funded by Gold Coast Hospital Foundation, baby Sky will live to enjoy her first Christmas at home with her parents.
At just one-week old, Sky was rushed to the Children’s Emergency Department fighting for her life after contracting a deadly bacterial infection. The medical response team didn’t think she would survive to see her first Christmas, but all efforts were made to fight the odds.
Southport locals and first-time parents, Sari and Rodrigo said the day earlier there had been no warning signs or concerns their daughter would be in a critical condition.
“Sky appeared perfectly healthy at her routine check-up with the GP, but within 24 hours we knew something wasn’t right. At first Sky wasn’t feeding and became extremely lethargic and hard to wake up,” Sari said.
“Her symptoms escalated very quickly. Sky was breathing rapidly, her body was floppy, and she had mottled skin turning purple and yellow. We had no idea what was happening, but we knew Sky needed help.”
Sky was unresponsive, struggling to breathe, suffering multiple seizures and her little body had also developed neonatal sepsis, a serious blood infection causing her organs to rapidly shut down.
Sky was urgently transferred to the Children’s Critical Care Unit, where she was placed on life support to stabilise her heart, lungs, and blood pressure. She was put on a ventilator to provide breathing support and hooked up to various monitoring machines and IV lines.
“It was very scary, and we didn’t know what to do, but we had complete faith in the doctors and everyone looking after her.”
During Sky’s treatment she had access to lifesaving equipment funded by Gold Coast Hospital Foundation, including a Critical Care Cot providing quick access in an emergency, and a Video Laryngoscope that was used to safely put a breathing tube in Sky’s airways to help her breathe.
Gold Coast Hospital Foundation CEO Ben Cox said many children and adults will be too sick or severely injured to be at home with loved ones this Christmas.
“When children and adults are really sick, they need the very best equipment to give them a fighting chance at life. That’s where the Foundation steps in to fund those vital extras,” Ben said.
“This Christmas, we’re calling on help from our community to give the most important gift you can, a donation to help critically sick patients in hospital. This year you can decorate our virtual Christmas Giving Tree through a donation.”
Sky spent nearly four long and worrying weeks in hospital fighting for her life. She suffered an extensive brain injury from the infection and two massive bleeds inside the brain, and she’s at higher risk of developing cerebral palsy.
“We were told her condition was life-threatening multiple times. We were terrified for her life and prepared ourselves for the possibility that Sky may never walk, move, breathe on her own, eat independently, or reach the developmental milestones that most new parents look forward to,” Sari said.
Despite Sky’s brush with death and her frequent hospital appointments, Sky is now a very healthy and happy 10-month-old who does swimming lessons, attends baby sensory classes, loves smiling for the camera, going to the park and anyone who will be silly with her.
“Sky defied those odds. She’s our Christmas miracle. She’s rolling and starting to move her legs more, she’s sitting unsupported, and she’s been eating solids by herself for several months now,” she said.
“It’s important to support Gold Coast Hospital Foundation to improve hospital facilities, fund medical treatment and lifesaving equipment, and support families who are going through hard times so they can enjoy the good times.
“We’re incredibly lucky and grateful Sky has a future and she’s here to celebrate her first Christmas. We are most excited to see Sky tear open presents from our family and play with her little cousins. I’ve already got her a Santa hat.”
Gold Coast Hospital Foundation is calling on the Gold Coast community to decorate the virtual Giving Tree to help critically sick patients like Sky this Christmas. Donate today.