Woman born dangerously premature dedicates life to saving other vulnerable babies

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A woman who was born dangerously premature has become a doctor and is now dedicating her career to help save other vulnerable babies.

Sabina Checkett was given just a fifty per cent chance of survival when she was born two and a half months early, weighing just 2lbs and 10oz, almost thirty years ago.

But Sabina beat the odds and was able to go home with her parents after three months at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in February 1987.

Now aged 32, Sabina works as a specialist on the neonatal intensive care unit in Evelina Children’s Hospital – having first decided she wanted to become a doctor aged just six.

Sabina told The Mirror: “My school did some fundraising for our local neonatal unit, and because the school knew I was born there prematurely, I went along to visit.

“After walking on the ward and seeing all of the newborn babies in their cots, I came home and told my mum I wanted to be a doctor.”

Sabina said that because of her own battle in early life, she has a special bond with the babies she cares for.

She added: “Though it was a long and often difficult road, I felt like I wanted to give something back to the NHS that had saved my life.

“I was just like them all those years ago and now I’m helping to look after them”

Dr Grenville Fox, clinical director of Evelina London neonatology, said: “Advances over the last 30 years mean that the outcomes for babies born at 28 weeks is typically far better than when Sabina was born.

“However her story shows that being born prematurely doesn’t necessarily mean it will hold you back.”

The news comes after a recent study found that the majority of premature babies, who are now adults, grow up to be healthy adults without any major health problems.

The survival rate for extremely premature babies has doubled over the past decade, prompting new guidance allowing doctors to try to save babies born as early as 22 weeks into a pregnancy.

In 2008 only two out of ten babies born alive at 23 weeks went on to survive. Today it is four out of ten, according to a new analysis from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine.

The findings of both studies have prompted calls to review the current law in order to help lower abortion numbers and save the lives of babies capable of being born alive.

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Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said:

“Stories like Sabina’s add further pressure to the need for parliament to urgently review our current abortion time limit. We support any change in law that would help lower abortion numbers and save the lives of babies in the womb. 

“It’s time that our laws were brought into line with public opinion, modern science and the majority of Europe.

“We urge everyone to ask their MP candidates to sign our Both Lives Pledge and commit to lowering the gestational time limit for abortion, something that is well-supported by women.

“Independent polling from ComRes shows that 70% of women in the UK want to see the time limit for abortion reduced to 20 weeks or below.”

About 60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK each year, of which 3,148 are considered “extremely premature” — born before 27 weeks.

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Mother whose son was given 12% chance to live welcomes guidance to save premature babies

A pregnant mother who begged doctors to forget about her and save her baby after both almost died has welcomed new guidance that encourages doctors to save babies born as early as 22 weeks into a pregnancy.

After swelling up severely, Stacie Hylans was admitted to hospital where doctors diagnosed her with pre-eclampsia and told her she had no choice but to deliver the baby early.

It meant she had to give birth to her son Alex Grief at just 24 weeks, with the young mother pleading with medics to save her baby.

Stacie told Derbyshire Live: “I was in shock and absolutely terrified. There was a chance I could die and there was a chance Alex wouldn’t survive.

“I remember vividly my mum signing forms in case the worse happened; it was horrible.

“I kept telling everyone please save the baby, don’t worry about me.”

Alexander Grief weighed little more than a pound when he was born and was given a 12% chance of survival.

But the strong youngster began to recover with the help of doctors and was allowed to go home after 20 weeks.

Despite his difficult start to life, Alex is now enjoying secondary school and the only signs of his premature birth are visual impairment and some learning difficulties.

Now Stacie, who spent the next few days in a high dependency unit, has welcomed news that babies will now be resuscitated at 22 weeks thanks to advances in medicine.

Stacie, who is also mum to Ellis, 12, Oscar, eight, and Mickey, seven months, said: “Any baby born breathing should be given a chance.

“My son was only saved because he was 24-weeks gestation, had he have been born a day or two before, they wouldn’t have had a legal right to have tried.

“But with this news, does it mean the abortion limit will be lowered? As this proves that a baby can survive at the limit of which a person can abort.

“I’m delighted they have passed this. So many more babies will be saved and given a chance.”

The survival rate for extremely premature babies has doubled over the past decade, prompting new guidance allowing doctors to try to save babies born as early as 22 weeks into a pregnancy.

In 2008 only two out of ten babies born alive at 23 weeks went on to survive. Today, four out of 10 babies born at 23 weeks and receiving treatment in UK neonatal units are expected to survive.

When the guidance was released, Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said:

“This is something that Parliament should urgently revisit. It has been over a decade since time limits were last debated fully in Parliament, in 2008.

There is a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive before 24 weeks whilst in another room a doctor could perform an abortion which would end the life of a baby at the same age. Surely this contradiction needs to end?

Independent polling from ComRes shows that 70% of women in the UK want to see the time limit for abortion reduced to 20 weeks or below. Our current abortion time limit is way out of line with the rest of Europe where the most common abortion time limit is 12 weeks.

This change in guidance adds further evidence to the need for Parliament to urgently review our current abortion time limit. We support any change in law that would help lower abortion numbers and save the lives of babies in the womb.

It’s time that our laws were brought into line with public opinion, modern science and the rest of Europe.”

About 60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK each year, of which 3,148 are considered “extremely premature” — born before 27 weeks.

Increased survival rate for premature babies born prompts calls to review current law

The survival rate for extremely premature babies has doubled over the past decade, prompting new guidance allowing doctors to try to save babies born as early as 22 weeks into a pregnancy.

The previous clinical guidance, drafted in 2008, included a presumption against attempting to provide life-saving treatment to a baby born before 23 weeks, on the basis it would not be in the child’s best interests.

However, there is now new evidence that those born at this age have a good chance of survival.

In 2008 only two out of ten babies born alive at 23 weeks went on to survive. Today it is four out of ten, according to a new analysis from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM).

Once you get to over 22 weeks, the chances of survival increase week-by-week due to technical advances, better planning so pregnant mothers who go into preterm labour go straight to specialist units and the increased use of steroids.

In 2016, 38% of babies born at 23 weeks go on to survive – double the rate 10 years previously. Once a baby gets to 26 weeks, treatment is proceeded on in most cases and 82% survive.

The new guidance states that, after consulting the family, doctors should try to save the child if they judge it is in their best interest.

The findings have prompted calls to review the current law in order to help lower abortion numbers and save the lives of babies.

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said:

“This is something that Parliament should urgently revisit. It has been over a decade since time limits were last debated fully in Parliament, in 2008. 

There is a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive before 24 weeks whilst in another room a doctor could perform an abortion which would end the life of a baby at the same age. Surely this contradiction needs to end?

Independent polling from ComRes shows that 70% of women in the UK want to see the time limit for abortion reduced to 20 weeks or below. Our current abortion time limit is way out of line with the rest of Europe where the most common abortion time limit is 12 weeks.

This change in guidance adds further evidence to the need for Parliament to urgently review our current abortion time limit. We support any change in law that would help lower abortion numbers and save the lives of babies in the womb. 

It’s time that our laws were brought into line with public opinion, modern science and the rest of Europe.”

About 60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK each year, of which 3,148 are considered “extremely premature” — born before 27 weeks.

(Image credit: Adobe Stock: File #106055878)