A FAMILY who owe their lives to staff at Wrexham Maelor Hospital are backing a campaign to save children’s services.
Brian and Nicola Valentine, from Salisbury Street, Shotton, have joined the fight against the proposed closure of the maternity ward and special care baby unit (SCBU) at the hospital.
Their son Dylan, now 17 months, spent two months in the unit after being born three months premature.
Children’s services are under threat at the Maelor as part of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board plans to shake-up services.
Options being considered include retaining services at all three hospitals – Wrexham Maelor, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Gwynedd – establishing a two-site model at either Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Gwynedd or at Ysbyty Gwynedd and the Maelor.
A proposal for a single paediatric unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd with day units at the Maelor and Ysbyty Gwynedd is also being considered.
Brian, 35, said Nicola and Dylan would not have survived if they had been forced to travel to Glan Clwyd or further afield.
He said: “If Nicky had to travel to Glan Clwyd the doctors said she wouldn’t have survived the journey.
“They explained that if she had been taken in the ambulance and something happened there is no other hospital nearby.
“She would have died at the side of the A55.
“Not only would I have lost my son, but I would have lost Nicky as well.”
Prior to the premature birth, Nicola, 30, had enjoyed a normal pregnancy and did not experience any complications.
Brian, who works at Lindop Toyota in Wrexham, says it is the emergency cases like his family who need the service the most.
He added: “We never expected to have to use the SCBU and until this happened we didn’t even know what one was.
“The service is a lifeline for parents in those emergency situations, and there are going to be stories like ours in the future.
“The health board is working cost against lives.”
The family had to use the service again just two months ago when Dylan stopped breathing.
Brian said: “If it wasn’t for the paramedics and having the Maelor so close there’s a very good chance Dylan wouldn’t have survived. I owe my family to the dedication of staff at the Maelor.
“As understaffed as they are, they fought for our Dylan.”
Apart from being left deaf by the ordeal, Dylan is now a normal, happy baby.
His parents were delighted when he took his first steps last week.
Brian and Nicola are now urging members of the public to sign the petition to save children’s services.
More than 4,000 signatures have already been collected, but campaigners are aiming for 15,000.
People can sign the petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/childrenswardwrexham/
See full story in the Leader