Sick toddler faces leg amputation

Gladstone boy Zaac Dow, 19 months old, is one of three confirmed cases of meningococcal in local children recently.
Gladstone boy Zaac Dow, 19 months old, is one of three confirmed cases of meningococcal in local children recently. Contributed

THERE is a 95% chance today is the day Zaac Dow will have part of his leg amputated.

It's a matter of when, rather than if, for the 19-month-old boy, who was rushed to Gladstone hospital on Easter Sunday with symptoms of the meningococcal disease.

He was swiftly transferred to the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane where he now awaits surgery.

After a week of battling for his life, Zaac was yesterday taken off oxygen and has begun breathing on his own.

It is a small step on what will be a long road to recovery, but not before he overcomes some serious obstacles, of which amputation is one.

Mum Simone Johnson said, although the procedure had been on the cards since his diagnosis, she had hoped he would only lose his toes.

"We always pretty much knew he would have to lose his toes, but we were praying he wouldn't lose his foot," she said.

At the time of speaking to The Observer, it was hoped Zaac's leg would be amputated halfway up the shin rather than at the knee.

"It's terrifying for any mother. You sit there and you count their fingers and toes when you have them, and now you have to face this," she said.

"I'm dealing with it at the moment but when it actually happens it will hit home a lot more."

Simone said the support she had received from the Gladstone community so far had been "overwhelming".

"It's been unreal," she said.

"It's so touching."

"The fact there is so many people behind him and rooting for him to make it through, it brings a tear to my eye."

Topics:  amputation meningococcal disease

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