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Laura's premature baby

Laura patient story

When baby Grey was born at 31 weeks, he seemed healthy. But his condition quickly deteriorated, and he developed breathing and heart problems.

Laura patient story

Laura's premature baby

It was like a slice of heaven and hell – a beautiful new baby but one who was desperately ill and having to fight for his life.
Laura
Laura Capstick-Dale and her husband Nick have no doubt that the staff at The Portland Hospital saved their tiny son Grey's life. ‘It was their attention to detail and caring attitude that means Grey is here with us today,’ Laura says. Grey was born at 31 weeks after Laura started bleeding and having contractions. He was delivered by an emergency caesarean section, weighing 4lbs. But later that day, he developed breathing problems and had to be put on a ventilator. Further investigations detected he also had heart problems, including a hole in his heart and valves that hadn’t closed. Worse was to follow when Grey developed sepsis and started losing weight. Doctors suspected he was developing necrotising enterocolitis, a disease that affects premature babies where parts of the bowel start to die. Only one in five babies who have a confirmed diagnosis survive. Luckily, Grey’s infection was caught early enough to be treated with antibiotics and intravenous nutrition, avoiding surgery. Grey spent eight weeks in hospital – five and a half of them in the Portland’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The Portland’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) both have the latest equipment to monitor and care for babies with complex medical needs or post-surgical problems. Director of the unit Dr Simon Bignall says a team of six neonatologists are on a rota to give 24-hour care. ‘Babies can become very ill extremely fast and also recover very quickly, so we are always on the lookout for signs of infection,’ Dr Bignall, who is a consultant paediatrician and neonatologist, says. For Laura, the level of care Grey received is something she’ll never forget. ‘Grey is really thriving now – he’s feeding well and is such a chilled baby, taking everything in his stride. We’re thankful every day to have him home. He is a true miracle.’
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.

Laura's support team

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Neonatal Medicine

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