University Hospital wins miracle baby award

By Matthew Bates Wednesday 07 November 2012 Updated: 07/11 19:15

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Karen Sidgwick, Kristie Mann, Louisa Eadon, Dr Cathryn Seagrave, Dr Prakash Satodia and Yvonne Huskins with the Parry family. (s)

UNIVERSITY Hospital has scooped a top award for its care of premature babies.

The neonatal and maternity team were hailed one of the best in the country after picking up the Baby Lifeline Maternity Unit Miracles Award.

The awards were launched in April by the city charity with parents around the country invited to nominate teams they believed to be outstanding.

Andy Hardy, chief executive of the hospital, said: “Each year staff deliver more than 6,000 babies and care for some of the sickest babies in the country in our intensive care baby unit.

"This is a fantastic accolade that I know the staff will treasure and we would like to thank everyone who nominated University Hospital."

Among those to nominate Coventry's unit was Holbrooks parents Claire and Liam Parry.

Six months into Claire's pregnancy she developed HELLP syndrome, a severe form of preeclampsia - a common and dangerous problem associated with high blood pressure in pregnancy.

Her twins, Jessica and Lucie, were born nearly four months premature by emergency Caesarean section, weighing just 2lb 2oz and 1lb 4oz respectively.

They were given a one in six chance of survival and both suffered from bleeding on the brain, needed blood transfusions and machines to help them breathe. They even needed laser eye surgery at just eight and 11 weeks to save their sight.

However, after 117 days in hospital Jessica was finally allowed home and her sister Lucie followed two weeks later - albeit after developing life threatening sepsis, which led to the loss of the tips of her two fingers on her left hand and a patch of skin from another finger.

In February next year, the twins will celebrate their third birthday and Claire said their survival against all the odds was down to the care they received by hospital staff.

"The neonatal unit team celebrated the milestones with us along the way," she told us.

"When the girls were 100-days-old they had balloons and banners around the incubator and cot with a lovely keepsake photo card signed by the staff.

"It’s a very hard job that they do. Without the staff being supportive, our journey would have been harder, which is hard to imagine."

The hospital's neonatal and maternity team collected their award at a ceremony in London on Tuesday.

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Little Jessica is dwarfed by a small teddy bear as she lies in a University Hospital incubator. She weighed just 2lbs 2oz. (s)

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Lucie weighed just 1lb 4oz at birth. (s)

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