Baby Carter comes home
A baby who was critically injured after falling nearly seven metres when he was just four days old has been given the all clear to return home.
Phil Preston described his son Carter as a "miracle" for having survived a 6.7 metre fall when he was only a few days old.
Preston's mother Julie Ferne was visiting her son and new grandson in Vietnam when she lost her balance descending the stairs in Preston's home in Ho Chi Minh City.
She was holding Carter at the time and both went tumbling over the railing, crashing on to the marble floor.
Ferne, 68, died shortly after while Carter, who was bleeding from his brain, was admitted to intensive care.
"The first week was just frightening - he was on the ventilator and there was no sign of anything," Preston says of the week following the August 24 incident.
"It was only when he opened his eyes that we had hope from there."
Carter spent the next three weeks in intensive care, where his parents were only allowed to visit him for five minutes once a day.
For Preston, what was meant to be one of the happiest times in his life, turned in to one of the worst. But on Friday he finally felt happy again.
The same day he farewelled his mother at her funeral in Auckland, doctors told his partner Chau back in Vietnam that Carter would soon be allowed to go home.
"On Friday, the day of mum's funeral he was moved from the neonatal unit to a room where he could be with Chau 24/7 and from there he just improved remarkably," Preston said.
"He's moving his arms and legs, crying, and doing everything a baby should."
Carter was discharged on Monday, but Chau was too scared to take him back to their home, which has a steep, winding stair case and multiple levels.
She has instead taken him to her grandmother's house and the couple will start searching for a new home when Preston returns from New Zealand later this week.
"We'll get an apartment, with one level," he says. "We're going to stay away from stairs for a while."
Preston and his brothers Sean and Stefan established a trust fund in their mother's name to fund hospital equipment in Vietnam. It has accumulated about $50,000, while Preston and Chau have been inundated with well wishes.
"Everyone's thoughts, prayers, good energy and vibes certainly helped Chau and myself realise we weren't alone in this tragedy," Preston said.
While Carter may have improved remarkably, New Zealand specialists have told Preston that his condition won't be able to be properly assessed until he is about six months old.
He plans to bring Carter to New Zealand for further assessments.
- © Fairfax NZ News