‘Bubble boy’, 3, dies in parents arms
A young boy who has been struggling with an auto-immune disease for most of his life tragically passed away on Saturday.
Thomas Collins, just three years old when he died, was diagnosed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) almost as soon as he was born. It means he has no ability to fight off diseases, making him at risk of infections which can turn life-threatening.
He spent 858 days in hospital - most of his life - and was kept in a "plastic bubble" to stop him from catching a disease. This caused him to be colloquially known as the 'bubble boy'.
However, in a tragic twist of fate, Tom's conditions worsened while in a Melbourne hospital, so he and his parents weren't able to move back to Queensland, where the rest of their family live, because of coronavirus border restrictions.
Tom's parents Leah and Morgan Collins have been fighting for their son to be let into Brisbane, anticipating that he was nearing the end of his days.
Recently, medical professionals had put Tom in a coma because of an infection he'd developed in his brain.
Their extended family live in Brisbane and could have offered more support for both Tom and his parents.
On Wednesday night, the Collins parents asked for a special exemption for Queensland Health to let them all back into their home state.
The reason the family were in Victoria rather than Queensland was because some of his special treatment could only be delivered by a specialist in a Melbourne hospital.
As a result, the Collins family sold their Brisbane home and relocated to Melbourne earlier this year.
"It is with deepest sorrow and fractured hearts that we tell you of Thomas's passing this evening," the Collins family posted on Facebook.
"He passed peacefully in the arms of his parents.
"Despite our best efforts we were unable to get him home to Queensland.
"No response from Qld was received in time. We understood the potential conditions were very distressing and would have separated our family during transport.
"We would then be forced to quarantine in the room he would have passed in as he was unlikely to survive 14 days quarantine.
"We chose to do what our son needed most, which was to be with his parents in a peaceful environment to the end. We were able to do that for him."
Tragically, the Collins family must now quarantine for 14 days, isolated from their support networks for the next two weeks.
"Sadly, we now have a choice between 14-day hotel quarantine, or wait 14 days south of the border to get back to Queensland, via NSW," they said.
"We wished we could be surrounded by family during this time but this is the hand we have been dealt."
Originally published as 'Bubble boy', 3, dies in parents arms