Mum has “nothing but praise” for Children’s Air Ambulance flying baby to Barnsley
The mother of a premature baby – born 240 miles away from home – says she felt “really confident” when her tiny daughter was transferred to the local hospital in Barnsley with the help of the Children’s Air Ambulance.
“Allowing complete strangers to take away your baby and fly them in a helicopter is really scary, but I wasn’t worried because I knew she was in safe hands and would be looked after by experts,” says West Yorkshire solicitor Madeline Moore.
When she was 30 weeks pregnant, she took her son Theo (16 months) to visit her parents in Somerset. During their stay, Madeline had what she describes as “a small bleed” and on the advice of a midwife, she went to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton to be checked out.
“They wanted me to stay in overnight, but it turned into almost a week after I was diagnosed with a suspected placenta accreta. This ended up requiring me to have an emergency Caesarean section,” she explains.
Grace was born on 21 September 2020 – 9 weeks early – weighing just 3lbs 9oz.
Her father Richard drove south from their home to be with his partner but by the time he arrived, Grace had been born.
Grace spent a week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Musgrove Park and was treated for suspected sepsis, jaundice, and a collapsed lung.
But the ward was quickly getting full and the hospital was keen for Grace to be moved to a unit nearer home.
The transfer to Barnsley Hospital – 20 minutes away from where the family live – took place when Grace was eight days old.“It was a bit overwhelming when we were first told that Grace would be transferred by the Children’s Air Ambulance, but it was explained to us that it was safer and a lot quicker by air. There was so much to contemplate but when all our questions were answered we felt really confident about it happening,” says Madeline.
The helicopter flew from its Oxford base to Wakefield to pick up a team from Embrace, Yorkshire & Humber Infant & Children’s Transport Service – one of the clinical partner teams that work with the Children’s Air Ambulance – and then on to Taunton.
Once the Embrace team had prepared Grace for the flight, they accompanied her on the helicopter back to Wakefield and then for the rest of the journey by land ambulance to Barnsley Hospital.
There is an allocated parent seat on the Children’s Air Ambulance, but it isn’t always possible for it to be used and on this occasion, for operational reasons, neither Madeline nor Richard could fly with their daughter.
Richard drove to Barnsley so that he would be there when Grace arrived with the Embrace team and Madeline and Theo travelled by car after the helicopter left Taunton.
The flight from Taunton to Wakefield took just one hour 23 minutes compared with the same journey by road which would be just under four hours.
“We have nothing but praise for the Children’s Air Ambulance and the part it played in getting Grace to a local hospital. It made a difficult time much safer for our daughter,” says Madeline.
It was another six weeks before Grace was feeding well enough to be allowed home. She is now putting on weight and doing well.