How NZ could help a Tongan toddler struck by a car

Health authorities in New Zealand may be able to provide help to a four-year-old Tongan girl who was critically injured in the island nation after being hit by a car. 

Tea was hit by a 15-year-old driver while crossing the road 10 days ago, suffering critical injuries including a cracked skull.

She is now barely able to see, struggling to eat liquid food from a spoon and her family is unsure how bad her injuries are. 

"We're devastated. She's the love of our life," Tea's aunt Tea Brimigion says.

Tea's been operated on at Vailolo Hospital on Tonga's main island of Tongatapu and showing signs of progress.

"Her parents move her from side-to-side, she's able to move fingers she's able to say hello on the phone when you talk to her," Ms Brimigion adds.

Because of Tonga's limited medical resources, Tea's family are appealing to the public for financial help to get her to a hospital in New Zealand or Australia.

"The main thing that concerns me is that Tonga does not have an MRI so it's more of a stitch and in god's hands pretty much you cannot tell if there's any internal bleeding or not," Ms Brimigion says.

Because she's not a New Zealand citizen, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is limited in what it can do to help.

But there is one option, MFAT funds a scheme which helps patients in the Pacific Islands, including Tonga, access overseas medical treatment. 

It's funded through the Counties Manukau DHB and they're currently looking into Tea's case. 

A New Zealand businessman has offered to fund a visit by a Kiwi doctor, but is waiting on a full medical report from the hospital which is due in the next few days.


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