Chopper takes pregnant girl to hospital

AN RAF helicopter from Suffolk was today back at base after carrying out an 80-mile emergency airlift for a young pregnant girl.

AN RAF helicopter from Suffolk was today back at base after carrying out an 80-mile emergency airlift for a young pregnant girl.

The Sea King from Wattisham Airfield received the SOS from midwives looking after the 17-year-old expectant mother after she developed serious complications.

The girl, who was 26 weeks pregnant, was being cared for at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, which did not have a good enough neonatal unit to deal with the emergency.

But it was found that the nearest available neonatal intensive care unit was at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford in Kent - around 80 miles away.

Nurses consulted with the ambulance service and it was decided that an airlift was the best way of transferring her.

The RAF crew carried out the evacuation at around 5.30am yesterday along with the girl's medical team.

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A spokesman from West Suffolk Hospital said: “We can confirm a patient who needed access to a neonatal intensive care bed was transferred from hospital yesterday.”

A spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Service added: “We were contacted by West Suffolk Hospital requesting an emergency transfer for an expectant mother.

“Because of the patient's condition a neonatal intensive care bed was required. The most appropriate facility was at Ashford in Kent.

“Because of the distance and the patient's condition, alternative methods of transfer were discussed with the hospital. The hospital contacted the RAF and arranged for a helicopter to support the medical team in this transfer.”

The girl's condition is currently unknown. The William Harvey Hospital was unable to comment.

David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Needham Market, said:

“I think this raises serious questions over neonatal provisions in our part of the region

“I will be writing to Suffolk Primary Healthcare Trust for a full explanation and to find out how frequent these long journeys are and how much they cost.”

Should a pregnant woman have to travel hundreds of miles when in a critical condition? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to

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