Looking at Taran 'Taz' Child now, you won’t see signs of the turmoil that entered his life at just nine years of age.
While receiving treatment for leukaemia, Taz developed an aggressive fungal infection that began to attack his body. The outlook was bleak, and his parents feared they would lose him.
Now 18 months on, the young boy with the cheeky smile is back in school. The fungal infection that threatened his future is gone, and his leukaemia is also in remission thanks to his team at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
The doctors and nurses at The Alfred are amazed by his recovery, not only because Taz was able to beat the fierce infection, mucormycosis, but because it was hyperbaric oxygen therapy that was the game changer.
Taz was receiving high doses of powerful anti-fungal treatments designed to combat the fungal infection, but his health continued to decline.
An aunt suggested Taz get a referral for hyperbaric oxygen treatment after reading about a handful of successfully-treated cases online. The Alfred is home to the state-wide service for hyperbaric medicine – the only public provider in Victoria.
Alfred hyperbaric specialist, Dr Ian Millar said Taz spent two-hours a day in the hyperbaric chamber – every day for two months – while continuing with his antifungal regimen.
Surrounded by oxygen levels 20-times higher than normal atmosphere, Taz lay in the chamber watching countless episodes of the British car show, Top Gear, for entertainment. Soon, the infection began to respond.
Alfred infectious diseases physician, Dr Orla Morrissey said patients with mucormycosis are very sick.
“Taz was among the sickest of the sick,” Dr Morrissey said. “To get the result we achieved was amazing. It was spectacular.”