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Sunday 22 January 2017

Parents keep vigil as baby Daniel fights rare virus

Olivia Kelleher and Breda Heffernan

Published 19/07/2010 | 05:00

Baby Daniel Collins with parents Vincent and Deirdre Collins pictured in the Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: Provision
Baby Daniel Collins with parents Vincent and Deirdre Collins pictured in the Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: Provision

THE parents of a seriously ill newborn baby were last night keeping a vigil by his bedside in Sweden as he fights for his life.

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Daniel Collins was flown by emergency air ambulance to a Swedish centre of excellence after contracting an extremely rare form of a respiratory illness.

Daniel -- from Gurranabraher in Cork -- was just one week old when he contracted the virus, which left him unable to breathe on his own and completely reliant on a ventilator.

The Adenovirus is in the same family as the common cold -- but Daniel contracted the rare form of the virus and, because he is a newborn with a compromised immune system, it has hit his tiny body very hard.

Born on June 24, he was initially a very healthy baby. However, a week later he developed a high temperature and was rushed to Cork University Hospital. He was started on oxygen and eventually had to be placed on a ventilator.

A team of respiratory experts flew from Sweden to see him and they advised that he be taken by air ambulance to a state-of-the-art children's hospital in Stockholm where he had been undergoing treatment for the past week.

"We nearly lost him last Saturday night. He was given a blood transfusion and a drug that saved his life," said his uncle Kenneth Collins last night.

Mr Collins has spent the past week in Stockholm with Daniel's parents, Deirdre Collins and Vincent O'Sullivan.

The couple have two other children, Shuan (5) and Anthony (11), who are being cared for by family in Cork.

Difficult

Mr Collins said it was very difficult for the family to see what their baby was going through. "He has had two operations over the last few days because he got a blood clot," he said.

"It is very hard, but right now he is stable. The people in the hospital in Sweden are the nicest in the world. Daniel is on an antibiotic to build up his immune system.

"He also is on a dialysis machine to draw fluids from his body," he added.

Because the antibiotic is so strong, Daniel can only be given the drug once a week. Doctors have warned his parents that it will be a "slow process" and he will need weekly doses of the drug for the next two months.

While Daniel's medical care is covered by the Health Services Executive and the hospital in Stockholm is providing accommodation for his parents, family and friends have embarked on a fundraising campaign to cover their day-to-day costs.

"It's costing a lot for Deirdre and Vincent to be there as the cost of living is expensive," explained Mr Collins.

A fundraising night at St Vincent's Hurling and Football Club in Cork city next Saturday is almost sold out.

However, members of the public interested in contributing to the fundraising efforts should contact Kenneth Collins at kencollins149@gmail.com.

Irish Independent

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