Junior at peace, says mother

By ALAN PERROTT

Sakiusa "Junior" Uluvula's month-long battle against a meningococcal B infection ended at the Starship hospital at midnight yesterday.

The 10-month-old's mother, Tima Uluvula, said their family was brokenhearted to have lost Junior, but were relieved that his suffering was over.

"I think we are coping with his passing better because he is now at peace. I had a look at his body last night and he has suffered a lot over the last month. Now he looks really at peace."

Junior lost his legs and right arm to the disease and after a brief improvement last week had to be put back on to a ventilator on Sunday afternoon after developing a secondary infection.

Mrs Uluvula had earlier told the Herald how quickly the infection had spread and how it made Junior, who leaves a twin brother, Nasoni, virtually unrecognisable.

The day before he was admitted to hospital on June 20 - three days after another face of the epidemic, seven-month-old Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman - Junior was crawling happily around with Nasoni.

The next morning he woke up hot and drowsy and wouldn't feed. His mother rang the Starship at 10am and was told to bring him in.

When the family arrived about 11.30am Mrs Uluvula was told Junior probably had a chest infection.

Minutes later, the telltale spots of meningococcal disease had begun to appear on his body.

"A few hours later we couldn't even recognise our own son," Mrs Uluvula said as his body swelled and blackened from the infection moving into his bloodstream.

It is hoped that Charlotte, who lost most of her arms and legs after contracting the disease four weeks ago, will be well enough to be transferred to Middlemore Hospital within the next two weeks.

Herald Feature: Meningococcal Disease

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