Welcome to Nepal

Welcome to Nepal

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Why did I get involved

New baby

It all started with a rather frantic telephone call from my son on 28th April 2006, to tell me he was rushing his wife to hospital. The baby was on his way... eight weeks early! There were potential complications, with the local hospital deciding the birth had to be handled by a specialist baby unit. Therefore, my daughter-in-law was transferred by ambulance to Nottingham, where baby Samuel was delivered by caesarean section and placed in intensive care.

It was decided the following day (29th April) that Samuel was to be transferred to another hospital in Leeds. A large growth on his liver required specialist neo-natal care. Arriving at the unit, Samuel was hooked up to all manner of machines. He was administered dextrose, an infusion of blood to help with clotting and morphine to keep him calm. A fibrillation pad was aiding his lungs, and oxygen was being given to help him breathe too. Most importantly though he was stable.

Early news seemed promising. On the 30th April, his oxygen assistance was turned down by 20% and he had a further blood infusion to help the blood clot more readily - a necessity before any operation on the liver.

This optimism wasn't to last though, as Samuel took a turn for the worse in the night. After promising signs the day before, there was still a problem with his blood.

Early on the 1st May, the medical team finally advised that nothing more could be done for Samuel. His blood was still not clotting and despite another infusion, he was haemorrhaging internally. The artificial feeding and breathing aids were turned off one by one and the monitoring equipment was removed. Samuel finally died at 11.40am, being held by his mother and father.

The care he received was second to none from start to end. The staff in this particular Neo Natal Unit were superb. This tragic loss to the family was the catalyst for me wanting somehow to put something back into the NHS intensive care system. I could think of nothing better than coupling my love of mountains and walking, with volunteering myself to this worthwhile research.

The post mortem results showed a birthmark having grown on the liver. This was full of blood cells drawing blood from the normal circulation system. As a result the growth increased with each day putting more and more strain on Samuel's heart. In the end it could not cope with the extra demand. Furthermore, any operation to cut the growth away would have failed as it would have caused a massive haemorrhage. This is what forced the medical team to turn off the life support systems. A sad end to what should have been such a happy time for the family.

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