BANGKOK Â – Brendan and Sharna Marshall and their two childrenÂ will finally touch down in Australia today after their 18 month old toddlerâ€™s battle with flesh-eating bacteria turned their tropical holiday escape into a nightmare.
Brendan and Sharna Marshall were stuck in Thailand for six weeks after their younger daughter, Amarli, contracted a rare case of streptococcus necrotising pneumonia.
The infection led to renal failure and destroyed part of her left lung, which had to be removed.
Relieved but exhausted yesterday, the Marshalls bade an emotional farewell to the Thai medical staff who saved the life ofÂ their 18-month-old daughterÂ Amarli.
Their ordeal started at the coastal destination of Khao Lak, two hours from Phuket, where Amarli appeared to have a cold.
A local doctor suspected a respiratory condition and told them to return if symptoms did not ease in two days.
When her condition became worse, her parents went to Phuket to get her examined at a hospital.
A diagnosis of pneumonia changed to possible dengue fever after blood tests revealed low concentrations of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Little Amarli was airlifted to Bangkok ICU on July 5 to be treated by â€œa better team of doctorsâ€ that â€œhad better facilities to handle her caseâ€.
â€œShe had a team of doctors working on her; a lung doctor, a kidney doctor, a surgeon, a blood doctor, and an infectious disease specialist, so she had a team of people trying to determine what was wrong,” Mrs Marshall said.
It was there that Amarli, a â€œlittle fighterâ€ was diagnosed with Streptococcus Necrotising Pneumonia â€“ a like threatening condition of bacterial lung infection.
She was also diagnosed with acute renal failure and Haemolytic Rhymonic Syndrome, an immune reaction that causes a low amount of red blood cells.
The Marshalls were told their only option was to remove part of Amarliâ€™s lung to prevent the infection from spreading.
Amarli spent 34 days in hospital and doctors say she may have contracted the disease during the flight to Thailand.
Mrs Marshall said Nurses at Bangkok Hospital grew fond of Amarli, telling her parents she was â€œa fighterâ€ who showed remarkable resilience.
She has bounced back quickly and reverted to annoying her sister. Both girls were conceived through in-vitro fertilisation.
Amarli does not have full lung capacity but natural regeneration should repair most of the damage.
The Marshalls have never been so happy for a holiday to end.
â€œIâ€™ll be getting on my hands and knees and kissing the Aussie soil,â€ Mr Marshall said.
â€Weâ€™ll get home to our two puppy dogs and theyâ€™ll have no idea whatâ€™s been going on.â€
Mrs Marshall said they planned to return to Bangkok one day.
â€œItâ€™s been the worst experience of our lives but itâ€™s also opened us up to some really special friends,â€ she said.
By Liam CroyÂ and Krystal Johnson