A toddler whose life was in danger after an alleged assault has improved, emerging from his coma and asking for his parents, a family friend says.
"It was great to see him come out of it, he's a little ripper," said a tearful Monica MacKay, a friend of Caleb's parents Joanne Smith and Daryll Skinner, who was with the pair at Caleb's bedside last night.
Caleb, the 2-year-old victim of an alleged assault in Masterton on Monday, was flown to Auckland that day with a serious head injury and heavy bruising after ambulance staff attended an incident at his home.
Today, he has improved from a "critical but stable" condition to just "stable", hospital spokesman Matthew Rogers said. "Good news - the condition is improved somewhat, the patient is now stable."
Ms MacKay struggled to speak through happy tears as she described the moment when Caleb was taken off life support and began to breathe for himself yesterday.
"He's a fighter - his parents are just rapt that he's come off it."
Ms MacKay said she spoke to Caleb's parents Joanne Smith and Daryll Skinner again this morning and they said that Caleb was awake. His first words were "Mum" and "Dad", she said, and that he had an "itchy nose". "He tried Houdini-ing out of his bed last night so they put him in a cot, and he had a really good sleep."
She said the danger was not over, however, and more tests were needed."They're still a bit worried about blood behind his eyes."
Ms MacKay and husband Scott Murray are returning to the hospital this afternoon from their home in Ngaruawahia to continue supporting the Masterton couple, who are separated.
On Tuesday, a Masterton man was remanded in custody until next week when he appeared in court charged with assaulting Caleb. Police said he may face further charges.
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