A six-month-old baby whose parents refused to allow him to undergo lifesaving heart surgery using blood from people vaccinated against Covid-19 has been operated on in a New Zealand hospital.
Earlier this week, a judge ruled that the boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, would remain under the court’s guardianship until he had recovered from the surgery.
The court also appointed two doctors as its agents to oversee issues around the operation and the administration of blood, according to court documents.
The baby has a congenital heart defect and needed urgent open heart surgery to survive – but the operation was delayed by his parents’ insistence that only blood from donors not vaccinated against Covid-19 be used.
Speaking to CNN affiliate Radio New Zealand (RNZ) on Friday, the parents’ lawyer, Sue Grey, confirmed they had texted her to say the surgery was complete and that their son was doing well.
Police were called in by the hospital on Thursday after the baby’s parents prevented doctors from taking blood from him for testing, or performing a chest X-ray or an anesthetic assessment, RNZ reported.
A new ruling on Thursday night ordered that the parents stop blocking doctors’ attempts to prepare for the operation.
The case has drawn attention to the ramifications of vaccine misinformation two years into global inoculation drives.
The baby’s parents believed there were “spike proteins in the blood of people who have been vaccinated and that these proteins were causing unexpected deaths relating to transfusions,” according to the judgment.
In a Q&A section on its website, the New Zealand Blood Service said: “The chance of finding spike protein in donated blood is very small, and it will be in the picogram range if it is there at all.” It went on to say: “There is no evidence that this represents any risk to recipients.”
The parents previously demanded the blood service take a donation from a person chosen by the family, but the agency refused and said it does not make a distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated donors.
Earlier this week, the court heard that Dr. Kirsten Finucane, the chief pediatric cardiac surgeon at Auckland’s Starship Hospital, had told the parents it was “simply impractical to have a directed donor.”
Finucane had consulted with other experts and found that a cardiac bypass without using blood or blood products would not be an option for the baby’s surgery, the court heard.
With the parents and doctors unable to agree on the infant’s treatment and blood transfusion, the New Zealand Health Service made an application under the Care of Children Act in November, asking the court to appoint a doctor to take temporary guardianship of the baby for his medical care only.
New Zealand has relatively high vaccination rates for Covid-19, with about 90% of people aged 12 or above having had two shots, and more than 70% of eligible adults having received a first booster shot, according to its health ministry.