Determined to help hospital

By Sophie Ryan -
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PRECIOUS MOMENTS: Joanna Goodall holding her son, Hunter Gray, who died at 10 days old Photo / SUPPLIED
PRECIOUS MOMENTS: Joanna Goodall holding her son, Hunter Gray, who died at 10 days old Photo / SUPPLIED

A mother from Whangarei is on a mission to raise funds to buy essential equipment for the hospital that couldn't save her 10-day-old son from a virus which lies dormant in most people but ended his life.

Joanna Goodall has been dealing with the grief of losing her son, Hunter Gray. after he contracted HSV, commonly known as the cold sore virus, and died at Starship Hospital's Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in May.

Ms Goodall, 26, and now living in Auckland, has written a blog about Hunter's short life and how she deals with her grief that has attracted between 15,000-16,000 readers from around the world on each post.

The tragic turn of events began when she took her one-week-old son to Waitakere Hospital, Auckland, when she noticed an infection on his scalp. She had also found it hard to wake him from sleep. He was kept overnight.

After multiple blood tests and scans, he was taken to Starship Hospital.

A specialist told Ms Goodall and her fiance, Mathew Gray, that 8-day-old Hunter's liver was failing.

Later that day, doctors made the decision to put him on life support after his kidneys began failing and he began having seizures.

Doctors discovered the herpes simplex virus, or the cold sore virus, on the morning of May 20, and it baffled Hunter's parents.

Doctors said it was incredibly rare for Hunter to contract the virus, which is not usually contracted by babies delivered by a Caesarean, as Hunter had been.

Ms Goodall is full of praise for the staff at Starship who did everything they could to save her son.

"Mathew and I only slept one hour each night. Doctors and nurses are there 24/7, there was never a time that they weren't there, they are really dedicated," she said.

"After he passed away, they made moulds of his hands and feet, they took photographs, they christened him, kept locks of his hair and made a book we could take away.

"That is really important - that is all we have got."

The Transport Syringe Pumps that Ms Goodall is fundraising to buy Starship are able to accurately deliver drugs to critically ill children. Because Starship PICU sees very small babies, it needs the machines to access tiny veins and deliver drugs smoothly and relatively pain-free.

In the PICU at Starship, 11 of these pumps, each costing over $4000, are required.

"Hunter used one of these pumps so I know first hand how important they are," Ms Goodall said.

"I feel that for part of my healing and to help other sick kids have the best possible chance of living and running around with brothers and sisters I would like to buy Starship one of these pumps."To support the Starship Foundation and to donate to Ms Goodall's cause visit: www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/HuntersPage

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