Baby’s tragic death ‘god’s will’

The parents of a Northland baby who died from a kidney infection believe their eighth child died as the result of “God’s will”.

Four-month-old Caleb Nathaniel Tribble died on Friday afternoon, only hours after a district health nurse had visited his rural home, near Pakotai, about 60km north-west of Whangarei.

Police are investigating the circumstances of his death.

Initial post-mortem examination results showed he died from a kidney infection.

Caleb’s mother, Catherine Tribble said yesterday he was “a beautiful happy boy”.

“He was the most perfect gift God can give. I don’t have any regrets. I do my best. I’m just so grateful to have had four wonderful months with him,” Mrs Tribble said.

“He was lent to us for a purpose. I can only say I believe he is in God’s hands now. It is God’s will,” Mrs Tribble said.

Caleb was the sixth of her eight children to be born at their rented home, which nestles in an isolated valley, shrouded by towering pine trees.

The children take correspondence lessons at home rather than attend a local school, 10km away from the 2ha property.

Caleb’s grandfather John Tribble said that, in the fortnight before his death, Caleb had suffered from a flu virus which had also infected Caleb’s five sisters and two brothers.

Mr Tribble, who is a faith-healer, prayed for Caleb and felt he was improving.

“Caleb had lost a lot of weight, but on Monday he’d stopped vomiting and was chortling and laughing”.

Mr Tribble said the family was committed to its faith and made a monthly pilgrimage to the Liberty Christian Church in Avondale, Auckland. The church is an evangelical healing centre, Mr Tribble said.

“We’re not vegan. We’re not weird. We’re not extremists,” Mr Tribble said.

On Wednesday last week the district health nurse had raised concerns about Caleb’s weight loss, recommending that he be taken to Whangarei Hospital.

But at no stage did Catherine and David Tribble believe their baby son’s condition was life-threatening.

They were happy for their child to go to hospital and had nothing against seeking medical treatment, Mr Tribble said.

The family prepared to go to Whangarei but it proved “logistically impossible”, to travel the hour-long journey on the Wednesday night.

They rang the nurse, who arranged to see him on Friday.

“On Friday morning, he still hadn’t put on any weight and the nurse told Cathy to keep him warm.

He was being breast fed. She put him down for a rest and went in about half an hour later and he had died in his sleep.

“It was the suddenness of it that took us by surprise,” Mr Tribble said.

Mrs Tribble said during pregnancy she had not had any scans and Caleb had been healthy until his immune system was battered by the flu.

The post-mortem had since shown Caleb had been born with a birth-defect.

Mrs Tribble said that her son’s urinary tract did not have a valve to stop urine returning to the kidneys.

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