A toddler whose life was in danger after an assault has emerged from his coma and asked 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. She was with the couple at Caleb's bedside last night.
Caleb, the 2-year-old victim of an 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.
He has improved from a "critical but stable" condition to "stable" and was to be moved this afternoon from the paediatric intensive care unit at Auckland's Starship children's hospital to a ward, hospital spokesman Matthew Rogers said.
"Good news – the condition is improved somewhat; the patient is now stable," he said.
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," she said.
MacKay said she spoke to Caleb's parents today and they said that Caleb was awake.
His first words were "Mum" and "Dad", she said, and 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, and further tests were needed.
"They're still a bit worried about blood behind his eyes," she said.
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.
MacKay said the couple were appealing for help as they expected to have to stay in Auckland for several weeks and had no income.
Donations could be made by contacting Masterton beneficiary advocate Trevor MacKiewicz, she said.
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.
- The Dominion Post