Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

100-Mile Trip to Visit Baby

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

100-Mile Trip to Visit Baby

Article excerpt

Byline: By Amanda Crook Health Correspondent

A new mother is having to make a 100-mile round trip to see her seriously-ill premature baby because of a shortage of specialist beds in North-East hospitals.

Denise Carson, 30, of Haltwhistle, Northumberland, can see her baby only twice a week at Sunderland Royal Hospital - a 90-minute drive away.

Mrs Carson contracted a potentially-fatal infection and doctors at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary were forced to carry out an emergency Ceasarean and hysterectomy 14 weeks before she was due to give birth.

Baby Davonna Helen weighed just 1lb 12oz when she was born on January 9 and needed immediate intensive care treatment.

But the hospital's special care unit was

full, so she was transferred to Sunderland.

Although Mrs Carson has been allowed home, she is unable to drive as she recovers from her operation and her husband works away.

That means she has to rely on friends and relatives to look after her other children and drive her to Sunderland.

Even as a passenger the former retail assistant finds the journey tiring, as she is still recovering from the surgery and is only able to only make the trip twice a week. She said: "It is heartbreaking not to be able to spend time with my daughter. She's getting excellent care in Sunderland and the doctors in Newcastle and Hexham saved my life. I can't thank them enough for what they have done.

"But because of the distance involved I can't bond with Davonna and there's something wrong with the system that means she has to be so far away."

There are a limited number of special-care baby beds in the region.

The RVI has 12, South Tyneside Hospital has one, Sunderland has five and South Cleveland Hospital and the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough have eight between them.

Last night, Hexham MP Peter Atkinson said he would be asking Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Strategic Health Authority to look into the case. …

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