Double ordeal mum voices funding concern

HAPPY and playful, their content faces hide their tumultuous journeys into this world.

Simon Tomlinson

HAPPY and playful, their content faces hide their tumultuous journeys into this world.

When Alex Power overcame a desperate fight for survival after being born premature, his Suffolk family hoped they would never have to go through the ordeal again.

But the nightmare returned when their second child, Andrew, was also delivered extremely early after a 100-mile emergency hospital transfer.

Sue Hammond, of East Bergholt, today spoke of the distress of helplessly watching her son's battle for life.

And while praising staff at Ipswich Hospital, she has condemned the lack of funding that forced her on a touch-and-go dash to an intensive care bed in Ashford, Kent.

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Miss Hammond was forced to travel to Kent because the neonatal care unit at Ipswich could not deal with an emergency involving a baby under 28 weeks.

She said: “The fact we had to that is wrong. I didn't want to have to be put in that situation. It is wrong for anybody in my situation to have to travel that distance. They need to have facilities in Ipswich.

“The staff in Ipswich were lovely. It is just unfortunate that the funding is not there for them.”

Miss Hammond, 38, was admitted to Ipswich Hospital in December last year after developing serious complications at just 23 weeks with Andrew.

While bleeding and having contractions, she feared she would have her baby in the back of an ambulance on the way to Ashford.

Miss Hammond, who works at AXA in Ipswich, said: “I tried to be upbeat. When I arrived in Ashford my heart sank because I just wanted to go home.”

Andrew, who is now ten months, was born naturally on December 12, but had lung problems and needed round-the-clock care.

He also became even more critically ill when he developed too much carbon dioxide in his tiny body.

But the agony for Miss Hammond and her partner, Tony Power, was made worse because they had to make regular trips from Suffolk to be by his bedside.

And on many days, they would have to deal with making worried phone calls from home on an hourly basis to check his condition.

She said: “When I first left him at Ashford, it was horrible. I couldn't cuddle him for more than five weeks. I had two children in different parts of the country. You have strength but then you start to crumble.”

Andrew eventually came home in April, but he continued to need an oxygen cylinder until the summer.

Miss Hammond said: “When he came home that is when it hits you. I cried. Tony was my rock. I don't know what I would have done without him.”

Three years previously, the family experienced a similar drama when Alex, who is now three years old, was born at just 29 weeks.

Alex spent seven weeks in intensive care, but Miss Hammond said: “He never looked back.”