Baby Benjamin transferred from Stoke on Trent to Kingston 2011

It is early morning at the University of Staffordshire Hospital in Stoke on Trent and we, myself and my husband, anxiously visit baby Benjamin hoping for some news of a transfer to a hospital closer to home. Due to Benjamin’s prematurity he requires critical care in a special incubator in the Neonatal Unit. This is the third day since baby Benjamin was born prematurely at 33+4 weeks. We had been attending a friend’s wedding for the weekend over 170 miles away from our home in Surbiton, Surrey where our 6 year old son and family are waiting anxiously for news. The idea of transporting baby Benjamin by road has been ruled out, due to the long distance.

As we arrive at the Neonatal Unit we are given some exciting and unbelievable news that a new and innovative charity, Lucy Air Ambulance for Children, has offered to provide the critical air transfer of Benjamin and one parent to the specialist neonatal unit at Kingston Hospital by light aircraft. This hospital can provide the critical care needed for Benjamin’s prematurity and will allow our family to be reunited!

Details are hazy as there was so much preparation including my own discharge from hospital, but at around midday the ambulance transporting Benjamin on the first leg of the journey arrived. We met up with the specially trained aeromedical team, which consisted of a doctor and neonatal nurse, who would be providing Benjamin with specialist care throughout the transfer. Benjamin had his final checks and was put into the travel incubator and special covers were put on his ears. He was also connected to several monitors including a heart rate monitor. Benjamin was then moved on to the ambulance with the aeromedical team and myself. My husband at this point started the long journey home by car. After a short journey by road we reached Manchester Airport with the ambulance sirens ringing out. We were then swiftly transferred to a light aircraft, where we were in the air for about an hour. The aeromedical team were very friendly and monitored Benjamin carefully throughout the journey. I don’t think Benjamin knew anything about the transfer as he spent the whole journey asleep!.

When we arrived at Northolt airport in Middlesex Benjamin and the medical team were transferred to another ambulance. This ambulance was smaller so I followed by car, we arrived at Kingston Hospital a short journey later. On arrival I met up with my 6 year old son and family, which was very emotional. We were so happy to be home. I followed baby Benjamin up to the neonatal unit where he was settled in and much appreciated farewells were said to all the staff involved in such a complicated hospital transfer. I was in floods of tears a mixture of happiness, relief and pregnancy hormones!

We hope that such important transfers for seriously ill children can continue through this amazing charity. We would like to say a big thank you to all involved!

Carla and Family x