A WOMAN who was among the first to be treated in the Maelor Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit has joined the protest over a proposed shake-up.
Amy Edge, 24, was born at just 25 weeks and she believes if it had not been for the level of care at the unit she might not have survived to her first birthday.
Amy, of Wrexham, said: “I owe my life to the staff at Wrexham Maelor and I cannot express just how grateful I am.
“They are giving people a chance of life. What greater gift is there?”
Amy’s mother Julia, 58, said she is “appalled” at plans to downgrade the service.
She said: “The team at the Wrexham Special Care Baby Unit saved my daughter’s life, not just once, but many times during those first weeks.
“Amy was born three months prematurely weighing just 1lb 14oz and I have never forgotten how lucky we were Wrexham Maelor Hospital had such a skilled team who had the courage and commitment to save such a tiny baby.”
Under the new system babies under 27 weeks and, where possible, mothers who go into labour before that time, will be sent to Arrowe Park in Wirral – 30 miles away from Wrexham.
Julia said: “She (Amy) was desperately tiny and fragile and clearly in distress.
“I cannot believe that anyone seeing her would feel it would have been possible to wheel her out of the hospital and into a waiting ambulance for an hour’s journey to another hospital.
“I remember there was a discussion at the time as to whether to send her to another hospital, but they decided not to, and I’m glad they made that decision.”
Julia, who was then employed by social services, was working in court when she began to feel unwell.
She was admitted to the Maelor where she went into labour.
The process was so rapid she said there would have been no chance for staff to transfer her to another hospital.
She said: “I believe Amy would have died during that journey. In fact, she would have died within minutes of her birth without the expertise of the specialist team of doctors and nurses who cared for her minute by minute.”
Amy is now an active and healthy young woman, who achieved A grades at GCSE and A-levels at Castell Alun High.
She has worked in healthcare and her hobbies include snowboarding, dancing, survival skills, hill walking, climbing and caving, and a history of volunteering for groups such as Food not Bombs, which distributes food among those who need it.
Julia said: “I shared the picture of Amy skydiving with the Leader because I think it’s so evocative.
“When she was born she was so tiny. You could pick her up with one hand. Now she’s visited parts of the world like Morocco, Asia, Australia and America.
“When you look at how fragile she was, and what she has grown up to do, I hope it convinces anyone that it’s worth fighting for premature babies.”