Parents of 6yo who spent most of her life in Starship's ICU finally take their daughter Ana-Carolina home

The parents of Ana-Carolina are finally taking their daughter home -  a move they told Newshub has been "a long time coming". 

It was an emotional farewell from hospital staff as the six-year-old who has spent most of her life in Starship's Intensive Care Unit (ICU) left the hospital on Thursday. 

Ana-Carolina faced an unnamed, mystery illness as a toddler. When she was four months old, her leg movements began to slow.

By the time she was 15 months, her parents were advised to turn off her life support and allow a natural death, as New Zealand doesn't support fully-ventilated children. Her parents refused.

Ana-Carolina can think like a six-year-old but is unable to move like one as a tetraplegic. 

Last November, Newshub reported Ana-Carolina's mother wished for her daughter to leave Starship - despite Auckland DHB wanting to move her to a respite facility on the North Shore.

The respite facility would have taken her parents away for 12-hours a day, a "traumatic" thought to her father, Peter Bircham.

"You'd never be able to communicate to her why mum and dad have been taken away, and we think that's just cruel," Bircham said at the time. 

The Bircham's fight to look after their daughter at home faced opposition by the Auckland DHB. Last year David Seymour said her case reflects bureaucratic bungling.

"It is categorically a failure of the Auckland District Health Board to produce a plan that reasonably resources her to live at home, even when that would save a huge amount of money," Seymour said. 

It costs $1.6 million a year to look after Ana-Carolina at Starship, but now she is finally able to move home her care will fall to just an estimated third of that. 

The child who fought the odds to stay alive has now also won her fight for a home with her parents.


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