Young Theodore Barnes needed emergency surgery.
Young Theodore Barnes needed emergency surgery.

How boy's flu-like symptoms turned sinister

THEODORE 'Bee' Barnes was just four years old when he came down with flu-like symptoms that led to a frightening complication and emergency surgery.

It was September 2019 and just days after showing initial symptoms, young Theodore's ears perforated.

He was flown to Queensland Children's Hospital where doctors performed a CT scan.

The scan revealed that Theodore had a severe ear infection, and so he underwent emergency surgery which involved an incision behind the ear, and drilling through a part of the

skull bone called the mastoid to gain access to the middle ear cavity.

Surgeons then inserted grommets in his right ear, and treatment was given for a large clot that formed in his jugular vein because of the infection.

"We couldn't believe how quickly he deteriorated, and how extensive the damage was - we are super thankful to have been at the Queensland Children's Hospital as they literally saved his life," Theodore's mum, Alysse said.

While surgery and treatment were successful, Theodore still struggles with general day-to-day activities as a result of his infection.

"We still spend quite a lot of time attending appointments and having additional admissions trying to get him back to normal," she said.

"We get a bit emotional when Theodore can't achieve things that others his age are

achieving, and the realisation is that he can't do it because he got an ear infection - how crazy is that."

But Theodore's family wasn't alone in their battle.

The Children's Hospital Foundation provided valuable support, including the use of Kidzone - a dedicated playroom within Queensland Children's Hospital - and volunteer services.

"The volunteers were able to give Theodore his very first smile since he got sick when they blew bubbles, and so we are so thankful for every single one of them," Alysse said.

"Every time we come to Brisbane for an appointment, we head to Kidzone to hang out and play, or just veg out on the bean bags to watch a funny movie. It's truly an escape from reality that awaits us on the other side of the doors."

Theodore and his family are now sharing their story to help other sick kids and encourage locals to donate to the 2020 Nine Telethon in support of the Children's Hospital Foundation.

In the past year, 820 admissions to the Queensland Children's Hospital were children from the Wide Bay region.

Children's Hospital Foundation chief executive officer, Rosie Simpson, said money raised through Nine Telethon would fund vital medical research, life-saving medical equipment, and patient and family - support services at the Queensland Children's Hospital for sick kids and their families across Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

"Every single donation, no matter the size, helps us work wonders for sick kids just like Theodore," Ms Simpson said.

"It's never easy having a seriously ill or injured child, and that can sometimes be made harder for those living in regional areas, who have to travel long distances for treatment and medical appointments."

Ms Simpson said donating through the telethon meant helping many more children like Theodore.

"Telethon gives us the opportunity to help families get back on their feet through the funding of groundbreaking research, state-of-the-art equipment, and patient and family support at Queensland Children's Hospital," she said.

To donate to the Nine Telethon, visit or call 1800 909 900.

Tune in to the Nine Telethon at 3pm on Saturday, November 14 for more inspiring stories like


Telethon will be broadcast live from the Queensland Children's Hospital, The Kids Ball at Queensland Cricketer's Club, and the Sunsuper Contact Centre on Channel Nine and 9Now.