Cook Islands' 'miracle baby' with rare liver illness must permanently relocate to NZ

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1 NEWS

A "miracle baby" with a rare liver illness has cheated death, which his Cook Islands family says is down to the help and care of New Zealand doctors. 

Dominic's mum says she kept positive as she watched her son fight for his life, after nearly dying twice.
Source: 1 NEWS

Ten-month-old Dominic Samuel was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a rare congenital disease which can result in severe liver failure and death before the age of two if left untreated. 

First-time mum Moeara Samuel, watched her son fight for his life as he's nearly died twice and had a liver transplant. 

Speaking out about her son's health, she says if it wasn't for her family, she "wouldn't know how to look after baby".

He was flown to Auckland from Rarotonga to Starship Hospital after his grandmother Tangi pushed for her grandson to seek medical attention. 

Doctor Helen Evans, Starship Pediatric Liver Specialist, says the condition is more common in Maori and Polynesian children. 

"That is one of the things we are actively researching at Starship and the Uni to find out why that is," Doctor Evans said. 

"In New Zealand, it's rare we see seven to eight new cases a year but in the Cook Islands, with their very small birthrate, we would expect to see a case there more than every 30-40 years.

"Seeing as he is the first child in the Cook Islands to get this illness, I want to raise the awareness in the Pacific what he went through." 

Dominic and his parents will be leaving their home in Rarotonga to move to New Zealand permanently so that their son can get the health care he needs for the rest of his life. 

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