Lifestyle

Death of newborn sparks couple's quest for answers

GOODBYE ANGEL: Kelly and Gary Hiles lost their baby boy Marcus after three days .
GOODBYE ANGEL: Kelly and Gary Hiles lost their baby boy Marcus after three days .

WHEN Kelly and Gary Hiles were preparing to celebrate the birth of their first child earlier this year, there was nothing to warn them of the heartbreak to come.

Marcus was born five weeks premature and weighing only two kilograms on April 26 and, while doctors didn't immediately diagnose him, they knew something wasn't quite right.

That is the nature of Neonatal Hemochromatosis (NH), the little-known condition that took his young life.

Parents remain oblivious to the harm being done to their baby until it is too late.

"The pediatrician said he was floppier than normal - lacking in muscle tone," Mrs Hiles said.

"None of us thought anything of it at the time. To us, he looked like a healthy boy."

The prognosis had changed the next morning.

Worried doctors conducted tests and realised that Marcus' blood was not clotting - a sign of liver failure.

By the third day they had worked out that the new-born was suffering the effects of NH.

Marcus died later that day.

"I felt like my heart had been ripped out," Mrs Hiles said. "It was the worst day of my life."

In spite of their devastation, the couple quickly set upon the task of learning more about the condition that killed their first child.

They discovered an American specialist, Dr Peter Whitington, who has dedicated his life to helping mothers around the world to cope with NH.

Disturbingly, they also learned that their chances of conceiving another child with the condition were now very high - about 80% - and that regular medical treatment would be required during the next pregnancy.

NH is a condition that occurs while the baby is in the womb.

Essentially, the mother's own immune system fights against the child and toxic iron levels accumulate in the child's liver and other organs.

"NH is usually deadly to the unborn baby but if born alive, in most cases it kills the baby in the first weeks or months of its life," Mrs Hiles said.

The treatment that Mrs Hiles will undergo if she becomes pregnant again will involve the transfer of intravenous immunoglobulin into her body from 16 weeks onward, to clean up any of the antibodies that would affect the baby's liver.

In the meantime, the Hiles family remains focused on doing whatever they can to help other families affected by NH.

Researchers at the Lurie Children's Hospital, Chicago, are trying to find a way to screen women to detect first-time NH cases while the baby is still healthy enough to treat.

"I think both of us are the kind of people that will try to look at life positively, despite what has happened," Mr Hiles said.

Mr Hiles, a former Ipswich police officer who now works in the Oxley district, and Mrs Hiles, who works in the police communications centre at Yamanto, have enjoyed the moral support of the local police community.

The couple is organising a charity golf day at the Sandy Gallop Golf Club on November 29, where they hope to raise at least $10,000 for the research.

Anyone who wishes to nominate a team for the day can contact Mrs Hiles on 0416337494 or email kellyhiles@hotmail.com.

Topics:  infant mortality, sandy gallop golf club



Aussies dominate doubles

TENNIS' FUTURE: Australian Lizette Cabrera hits a backhand shot in a tightly-fought doubles match with Olivia Tjandramulia against Monique Adamczak and Olivia Rogowska at the Tweed Tennis International at Arkinstall Park. Adamczak and Rogowska advanced 6-7 (6) 7-5 (10-5).

Tweed Coast Tennis International heating up.

Casuarina sets the benchmark in Tweed market

Our property market is as strong as it's been since the crisis

Local Partners

'Highly unlikely' Brad Pitt will face prosecution

It is highly unlikely that Brad Pitt will be prosecuted

WATCH: Justin Bieber grabbed in Germany

A video has emerged of singer Justin Bieber being attacked

Why The Wrong Girl is right for Jessica Marais

Jessica Marais and Ian Meadows in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

ACTOR makes the sometimes awkward character her own in new comedy.

What's on the small screen this week

Jessica Marais in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

A NEW romantic comedy debuts while footy codes ramp up for finals.

Airbourne talk drop bears, beer and taxes

Airbourne have a new album coming out and a new tour on the way.  Photo Contributed

Airbourne release album for the aussie battler

Pippa Middleton had 3000 private photos stolen

Author Pippa Middleton

Author's account hacked to access 3000 private photos

Casuarina sets the benchmark in Tweed market

Our property market is as strong as it's been since the crisis

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.