Auckland father-of-five fighting for life against mystery infection

An Auckland farmer – and sole breadwinner – is critically ill in hospital battling a mysterious infection.

Michael Hales’ infection has since led to sepsis but doctors are still baffled as to what it is that has brought the 35-year-old close to death.

The Helensville dairy farmer remains in intensive care in North Shore Hospital as his wife of 14 years, Rosaline, remains by his bedside.

The couple also have five children – aged from 10 months up to 17 years old – but family had wrapped around them with Michael’s mother, and Rosaline’s father, sharing the parental duties.

Hales’ Blenheim-based sister, Shannon, told the Herald her brother was the family’s sole income earner on their dairy farm and worked seven days a week to keep it ticking over.

Shannon said they weren’t sure how he got so sick and what the infection is that caused sepsis.

“He did have an accident on the farm about a week ago, he got hit in the back, around the kidneys really hard by these spring things. But that’s not what caused it I think that’s just made his immune system really low because, as soon as that happened, he started getting really sick.

“He was still working, then he spent a few days in bed. He’s the main breadwinner of the family and doesn’t have a relief worker and just keeps working through – he’s stubborn like that.”

By Saturday he got worse and was taken to hospital where they began running tests.

“My sister-in-law went to go home and then they called her back and said no, you need to come back now, he’s just gone downhill really quickly.”

He has been in intensive care ever since, as he began turning yellow as his organs started shutting down.

“He has some kind of bacterial infection which has absolutely smashed him … they’ve run all the tests but they still don’t know what the infection is so he’s on three types of antibiotics.”

The infection had also caused sepsis so he was also on medication for that, while his kidneys were deteriorating and doctors are considering dialysis.

“We’re just hoping it doesn’t lead to that. His kidneys are still really bad, so dialysis isn’t off the table, but his body is still fighting it enough that he doesn’t need it.

“He’s still in intensive care. They tried to reduce his oxygen this morning but his body didn’t cope so they’ve put it back up again.”

Shannon said her brother was “the nicest man in the entire world”.

“He has the biggest heart, he would never ask for help and will probably be quite embarrassed that I have made him the [Givealittle] page.

“He will think that he doesn’t deserve it but he does.”

Growing up with just their mother, Michael had been the only male figure in her life.

“And I’m getting married next year and he [is supposed] to be walking me down the aisle so he needs to get himself better and get through this.”

Shannon knew that her brother would be stressed about not being able to work so she wanted to help relieve that in some way.

“He’s got five children, he works so, so hard. The youngest is 10 months old and I know that the reason he doesn’t take time off work is because he worries about money.

“He just pushes himself to the limit so I know he would be freaking out about money, about all of that and I just knew that all our family and friends would want to help so that’s why I’ve started a Givealittle page for him.”

• Anyone who wishes to donate to the Hales’ family can click here.

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