Protests as ‘Baby W’ awaits heart surgery in Auckland

Sydney, Australia, Dec 9 (EFE).- Around 50 people staged a rally Friday outside the Auckland hospital where a 4-month-old baby was to undergo open-heart surgery under High Court guardianship after its parents refused any operation that could involve blood from people vaccinated against Covid-19.

The rally in support of the parents was called by the New Zealand Outdoors & Freedom Party, co-founded by the family’s representative and lawyer Sue Grey.

The case of “Baby W” – who has a worsening congenital heart defect – has attracted worldwide attention as a result of the legal battle that his parents faced with the New Zealand health agency, which requested and on Wednesday received High Court guardianship of the minor in order for him to have urgent life-saving surgery, likely requiring a blood transfusion.

On Thursday night the parents tried to prevent doctors taking the baby for pre-operative checks, such as blood tests, chest X-rays and an anesthetic evaluation, and threatened to file criminal charges against health personnel, state broadcaster Radio New Zealand reported.

A new High Court ruling was then issued ordering the parents not to obstruct medical staff at Starship hospital.

The parents had wanted donors to be taken from their own proposed list of people who had not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Blood donations in New Zealand are managed by NZ Blood, an official body that does not ask donors to declare whether they are vaccinated against Covid-19, and says on its website that “any Covid-19 vaccine in the blood is broken down soon after the injection.”

“All donated blood also gets filtered during processing, so any trace amounts that may still be present poses no risk to recipients.”

On Wednesday, a justice at the Auckland High Court determined that the court would take over temporary medical guardianship of the minor until Jan. 31, 2023, to proceed with the operation and until the post-operative treatments are complete.

Justice Ian Gault, who heard the parties on Tuesday, ruled that the baby should be operated on without delay and gave doctors the power to use NZ Blood products. EFE


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