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Nurses' Day

John's thank you

Nurses Day Emma

"In the early hours of Thursday 18 July my wife, Anne, received a message explaining that our daughter Emma had been rushed to Scarborough Hospital with breathing difficulties. Emma was 25 weeks pregnant."

"When we arrived, Emma’s condition was deteriorating rapidly and she was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). It quickly became clear that she would need to be placed into an induced coma. 

"Seeing our little girl lying lifeless, with tubes in her neck, arms and hands was heartbreaking - like a scene from a horror film. The agony went on for several days with no improvement. Throughout all of this, Emma’s partner Scott kept vigil at her bedside.

"Four days into our nightmare we were called into the doctor’s office where it was explained to us that they had done all they could for Emma, without seriously compromising her baby’s health. They had no choice but to proceed with treatment that could harm her unborn child. I cannot begin to describe how this felt.

"Emma was diagnosed with pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis. More drugs followed. Different drugs. More drips, different drips. The agony made it impossible for any of us to lead a normal life. We were on edge every time the phone rang.

"Nine days in and finally some good news – Emma could breathe for herself and thus, be brought out of her coma. Or so we thought. Hospital staff made several failed attempts to remove Emma’s breathing tube – each time she fought against the procedure, becoming very distressed. Another coma.

"After 10 long days, the tube was removed – Emma was breathing for herself. The pipes, tubes and wires soon followed and eventually she was transferred to an ordinary ward.

"Throughout those 10 long, lonely days we were supported by the most warm, vigilant and understanding nursing staff; understanding not only of Emma’s situation, but of what we, as a family, were going through.

"There is a ward rule that only two visitors are allowed at the patients’ bedside, but more often than not, Scott, my wife and I were allowed to sit with Emma. For us all to be together, to support each other, meant so much.

"The nurses and doctors went to great lengths to explain the various equipment; what they were doing to Emma and why. They explained how Emma was reacting to the drugs, whether her condition was stable, deteriorating or improving, and how this might affect her baby. They were always honest and upfront with their answers.

"I remember that the staff spoke to Emma, even though she was unconscious. They talked her through each day, told her that her family were by her side and that we couldn’t wait to meet her little baby. You remember little things like that.

"The nursing staff in ICU would regularly work beyond their 12 hour shifts, often missing tea and meal breaks to give Emma the very best care. They never moaned and were always bright and cheerful. We felt like nothing was ever too much trouble.

"10 weeks after Emma was discharged from hospital, on 13 October 2014, she gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Ellie Anne Agar. Ellie is petite, bright as a button, and an extremely happy little soul, who shows no adverse effects of the massive trauma her mother went through.

"No amount of words can sum up the thanks we have for the doctors and nurses at Scarborough ICU. Their skill, compassion and dedication brought Emma and Ellie back to us and guided us through the most difficult period of our lives."

John Haxby, March 2016