Mum'slove for Her Two Boys; Karissa Is Thankful for the Mater's Help during Benji's Battle with Rare Illness

Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia), April 5, 2014 | Go to article overview

Mum'slove for Her Two Boys; Karissa Is Thankful for the Mater's Help during Benji's Battle with Rare Illness


Byline: Kathy Sundstrom

MYOCARDITIS

Myocarditis is an uncommon disorder that is usually caused by viral, bacterial or fungal infections that reach the heart.

There may be no symptoms. Symptoms may be similar to the flu.

If symptoms occur, they may include: abnormal heartbeat, chest pain, fatigue, fever, joint pain.

GP Dr Wayne Herdy says the rule of thumb is not to do vigorous or sudden exercise for two weeks after a common virus, like the cold.

KARISSA Miller lovingly says she is the mother of two boys, "one who lives with me and one in heaven".

Her beautiful baby, Benji Head, died on May 21 last year after contracting a simple virus, similar to the common cold.

The virus infected his heart muscles causing myocarditis, a relatively uncommon disorder that once hospitalised Olympic swimmer Lisa Curry.

Benji was only three months old when he died.

The Woombye mother shares her heartbreaking story to spread awareness of the illness that killed her son and to raise funds for the Mater Children's Hospital in Brisbane, which gave him a fighting chance.

Benji had just come home after being born at Nambour Hospital on February 27 when Ms Miller noticed he had a fever.

She took the six-day-old infant back to the hospital, but he was sent home as his fever was going down.

"The next day it was up to 40 degrees and we took him to our GP," Ms Miller said.

He was rushed to hospital, eventually airlifted to Brisbane and it would be nine weeks of intensive care before Ms Miller and her partner, James Head, would bring him home to die.

Despite the fact Benji was being breast fed, he had contracted Ms Miller's "simple cold", which had "gone and infected his heart".

"It can happen to anybody, not just babies," Ms Miller said.

Attempts to get Benji off a ventilator that was keeping him alive weren't working.

"We tried to take him off the ventilator twice. He struggled, he lasted for almost 24 hours the first time," Ms Miller said.

"But only eight hours the second time. His heart was too weak. …

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