Baby recovers from fall

By Kathryn Powley

Family to donate money to hospital in gran's name.

Phil Preston with his partner Chau and baby Carter Nguyen Phun Preston. Photo / Supplied
Phil Preston with his partner Chau and baby Carter Nguyen Phun Preston. Photo / Supplied

A baby who survived a fall in Vietnam that killed his grandmother appears to have made a full recovery from his head injuries - and the family have shifted into a one-level apartment.

Carter Preston - son of Kiwi Phil Preston and his partner Chau Nguyen - suffered bleeding on the brain from the August 24 accident, which took the life of his grandmother Julie Ferne.

Ferne was holding 4-day-old Carter in her arms when she lost her footing on stairs and fell 6.7m on to a marble floor at Preston's Ho Chi Minh City apartment. She died soon afterwards. Carter spent three weeks in Ho Chi Minh Children's Hospital: Nhi Dong 2.

Preston told the Herald on Sunday his 12-week-old son is looking and behaving like a normal baby.

"Obviously it is hard to gauge any cognitive functions at his age, but we are confident of a recovery. Physically he is capable and healthy."

Carter was discharged from hospital while Preston was in New Zealand for his mother's funeral, but the baby returned to the ward within days with a viral infection.

"Since then Carter has put on weight and is developing seemingly as he should," Preston said.

"We moved from our house into a one-level apartment. It was very strange feeling to be in the house where it happened. Especially when carrying Carter down the stairs. Now life is back to where we were."

Preston and Nguyen were enjoying the ordinary challenges of a newborn.

"We have had a difficult time training him to sleep. From being in hospital and woken every three hours, his sleep pattern has been hard to break."

Preston and his family wanted something good to come from the tragedy so they launched a trust in Ferne's memory to benefit the hospital. Facilities are so basic that some parents must take shifts manually pumping their children's ventilators because the hospital does not have automated equipment.

"There is a serious capacity problem at the hospital, especially as this year being the Year of the Dragon is popular to give birth.

"I am not sure how we will contribute the funds at this stage. We will close the fund on January 19 - Mum's birthday - then we'll start the conversation with the hospital and let the ideas evolve," he said.

The fund had reached over $60,000 this week.

Preston's brother Stefan said Ferne's Birkdale home was to be auctioned today. He said dealing with the many "treasures" she'd collected over the years was heartbreaking.

Donations to the Julie Ferne Memorial Trust can be made at any branch of the ASB Bank or directly into the account: 12-3198-0065427-00.

- Herald on Sunday

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