Baby Charlotte's limbs amputated in marathon operation

By REBECCA WALSH

Waiheke baby Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman, who is fighting meningococcal disease, has had her legs and part of her arms amputated.

The 7-month-old yesterday underwent eight-and-a-half hours of surgery at the Starship children's hospital.

Last night her father, Perry Bisman, said Charlotte's legs had both been amputated through the knee. Her left arm had been amputated to the elbow and her right arm half-way up her forearm.

She was covered in bandages and recovering in the intensive care unit.

Surgeons said she had come through the "massive" operation with "flying colours".

Mr Bisman said although he had been preparing himself for the surgery he and his partner, Pam Cleverley, were shocked at the extent of her arm amputations.

"We are obviously upset. I think we are also quite relieved that that part of it is over," he said.

"It's devastating to know our perfect little daughter is no longer in the same state she came in."

Charlotte contracted meningococcal disease two weeks ago.

Mr Bisman said Charlotte was on a respirator and was "not out of the woods" yet. "There could still be infection at any time."

Mr Bisman said signing the consent forms for the amputations was the "worst and hardest" decision he had ever made, but it was the only choice.

"There's the guilt associated with that. The guilt of her one day asking 'Why did you let this happen?' As people have told me, I didn't have a choice."

Herald Feature: Health

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