Family in turmoil as baby fights for life
A MORANBAH family had no choice but to relocate to Townsville when they discovered their newborn was battling a serious heath condition.
Brantley Mooney-Smith was three days old when he underwent emergency surgery for intestinal malrotation - a life-threatening condition that resulted in his bowels and intestines being twisted.
His mother, Lisa Harvey, said doctors told her Brantley "should have been a dead baby".
Now, just two weeks after he was born, and following a second surgery and endless tests, Brantley's family is waiting anxiously to see if his results are positive for Hirschsprung disease.
If they are, Ms Harvey said her son would have to have a stoma "for good".
Luke Smith, has had to temporarily leave his job at Moranbah Discount Tyres & Mechanical to support Brantley, Lisa and their other son, one-year-old Kohen, in Townsville.
It's taken a hard financial toll on the family and the couple aren't positive they will be able to leave Townsville in the foreseeable future due to Brantley's health needs.
"It's just a waiting game," Mr Smith said.
If, eventually, Brantley does get better, they have been advised they will have to relocate to Mackay to be closer to a major hospital.
While Brantley is in a stable condition, Ms Harvey isn't sure he will be okay.
His condition had come as a complete shock, she said, and it had been hard to cope emotionally and financially.
The family had been in Moranbah for more than three years and had planned on living there a lot longer.
They had paid $220 a week in rent, but expect Mackay will be more expensive, with rent in the $300 a week range, but would rather take the medical advice and be "safe rather than sorry".
"It's something we're just going to have to do," she said. "(Brantley's intestines) could twist at any time."
For the moment the family is just praying Brantley doesn't have Hirschsprung disease, but Mr Smith is acutely aware there's a strong financial burden on their backs.
Only receiving $58 per week in Centrelink payments for Kohen, Luke said it was "hard to buy formula, pay bills and buy nappies".
With no surgeons in Mackay for children with a serious condition such as Brantley's, Mr Smith said Townsville Hospital was better equipped and their only option.
The family is currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Townsville.
Mackay region families were Ronald McDonald House's biggest users in Townsville in 2017, indicating the importance of this service and highlighting how often families in the region have to relocate for health conditions.
Ronald McDonald House NQ chief executive officer Amy Cooper said their purpose as a charity was to be there for families at a time of need, when families faced strong financial hardship.
She said the organisation is committed to trying to expand their programs to reach to families in need wherever they may be across North Queensland.
Brantley's family has set up a gofundme page to support them. Go to https://www.gofundme. com/bev65-baby-brantley