THE NHS spends £10million a year resuscitating babies born at 23 weeks and keeping them on incubators and ventilators. But despite 24/7 care, 91 PER CENT of them die. And only one in 100 survivors grows up without disability. The most common problems include blindness, deafness and cerebral palsy.
Leading NHS official Dr Daphne Austin ignited the debate this week when she said in a BBC documentary that keeping the babies alive simply “prolonged” their agony and argued the money would be better spent on cancer sufferers or the disabled.
Guidelines state doctors should not try to resuscitate babies born before 22 weeks as they are too under developed, but those born between 22 and 25 weeks should be given intensive care.
Around 350 babies a year are born at 23 weeks and nearly all are resuscitated as families cling to the hope they will survive.
Here, two mums talk of their 23-week premature babies and why NOT to give up hope.
POLICE officer Lucy Kirwan says her daughter, Matilda, was one of the lucky ones. Lucy, 30, lives in Stourbridge, West Midlands, with her husband Craig, 31, also a police officer, two-year-old son Charlie and Matilda, seven months.
“CHARLIE was born normally. So when I fell pregnant with twin girls last year it didn’t occur to us there would be problems. But at 22 weeks I was told there was a problem with the fluid around the babies.
After a weekend of not feeling very well, I went to Birmingham Women’s Hospital where a scan showed only one heartbeat. The next day, my waters broke.
Craig and I had spent the weekend on the internet working out what would happen if our baby was born at 27 or 28 weeks. We never thought we would have to worry about what would happen if she was born at 23 weeks.
A few days later I went into labour. I was only 23 weeks and six days pregnant.
We’d gone from buying things for the twins and feeling we’d got past the “safe” point of the 20-week scan to losing one baby, Alice Rose, and preparing to give birth to her very premature twin, Matilda. I didn’t have much hope.
Matilda did cry briefly when she was born, then her organs couldn’t cope and the doctors spent half an hour resuscitating her before taking her away. There were about 15 doctors and nurses in the room and alarms were going off.
But I had to give birth to her twin, then I had emergency surgery because the placenta was still attached so I wasn’t very aware of what was happening to Matilda…. continue reading
By Emma Cox
Source: The Sun