Regional | Ngā Rauru Kītahi

Six-year-old hit-and-run victim discharged from Starship today after making miraculous recovery

Six-year-old John Major Taurua Mackay, better known as Major, was discharged from Auckland’s Starship Hospital today, three weeks after he was involved in a hit-and-run incident in his hometown of Whanganui.

Major sustained brain injuries, multiple skull fractures and broken ribs and, upon his arrival at Starship, he was in a critical condition before being put into a medically induced coma. Last week he awoke from the coma and is now about to undertake rehabilitation.

His uncle John Taurua says his nephew’s progress has gone through the roof and doctors are happy for him to move on to rehabilitation stages.

Taurua says, “It’s been a roller coaster ride from coming up to three weeks since the incident, from week one , we thought we were going to lose him, his head was open. We got up here to Auckland at 2am in the morning after the incident. He went straight into theatre, he had two operations in one day on his brain, and, while he was in the coma, he looked like a vegetable, and we were freaking out.

“When he came out there was a lot of delirium, and they (doctors) said that goes hand in hand with brain injuries but his progress has gone through the roof. So, about two days ago they finally stopped feeding him on the tube, and now he can eat and he’s walking, but he’s real wobbly, so that’s only happened in the last two days.”

“Back when he was in the coma, and the doctors were saying to us, ‘Be prepared to be here for potentially two to three months in Starship’ but he’s out of there under three weeks,” Taurua says.

At this point the family still needs support and is staying in Takapuna where young Major will be receiving rehabilitation treatment for at least the next three weeks. Major is the youngest of five brothers and all five were crossing the road when Major was struck by the hit-and-run vehicle. All the brothers are afraid to return to the scene of the incident and are receiving counselling to help overcome the ordeal.

“Kiriwai (mother) got given options to go back down the line or stay up here, and she chose to stay up here. Trina’s (sister) daughter, my two kids live just down the road from the rehab centre, because they are all in the Navy, in Takapuna, and I’m just up the road.”

“If you see his head, it’s still pretty mashed up and everything, and his whole body, and his ribs. He jumps in the wheelchair all the time, it’s just easy on him, but to see what he was two weeks ago to now, it’s insane, it’s awesome,” Taurua says.

Over twenty-one thousand dollars was raised via Mackay’s Give a Little page to help with his recovery, and rehab,ilitation and other expenses. Taurua says his entire family is grateful for the love and support they received from staff at the Starship.

“We’ve been blown away by the support from Whanganui, from the motu (country), but especially Starship. Our immediate family stayed at the Ronald McDonald house, and then when the other whānau (family) arrived, so when mum come up and the other sisters, there was another āwhina (support) house there that they could go to and stay in.

‘Real loving nurses’

“I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Starship, but the nurses there, like, they wear cartoon uniform tops and everything’s about the kids. And you can tell it’s a special sort of nurse, you know, because if you have nurses who are nurses, and then you’ve got nurses who have got their loving, real loving, down-to-good-with-kids attitude.”

Te Ao News received a short-written statement from the NZ Police about the investigation into the hit-and-run incident. It says: “We are not able to provide comment on the investigation at this stage and can advise that enquiries are being finalised before charges are considered.”

Taurua says. that “as a whanau we’ve been actually saying that’ll take its course when it happens, so we haven’t really focused too much about that side of things. We are just focused on our boy, let the police focus on that side”.