Dramatic stories of infants at risk in childbirth have poured onto the Save Our Horton social media page since the campaign to save Banbury’s maternity unit was launched.
Hundreds of mothers have recounted frightening tales in which they insist there would have been no time to transfer them to the John Radcliffe, Oxford as hospital bosses plan from next month.
The Oxford University Hospitals Trust says it cannot staff the Hightown Road unit safely after the resignation of three senior doctors. It says it is advertising for replacements.
One mum, Charlotte Nealey, wrote: “As my daughter Mia was delivered the midwife quickly realised she was in danger and within seconds a consultant team rushed in.
“Mia was born completely grey and not breathing because of two lots of meconium inhaled into her lungs.
“She was very very poorly - treated for congestive meningitis and brain damage. The fantastic paediatric consultant team saved her life. They also saved her from any damage to her brain and she’s now a completely healthy 11-month-old.
“I feel sick to think she would’ve died within minutes if there weren’t any experts on hand to treat her.
“She wouldn’t have had a chance if she needed blue lighting to the JR before being treated and stabilised in SCBU first.
“How dare these people threaten to reduce the services? We need more midwives and facilities for this hospital.”
Kirsteen MacColl-Bowman suffered a pain condition during pregnancy that necessitated stron g pain killers.
“Without consultant care I would have had to travel to the JR. It was difficult and painful enough attending the Horton,never mind Oxford.
“When I had our son Iain by C-section it was at the HGH and staff went above and beyond what we expected. The SCBU nurses and paediatricians were in the theatre with us as there was an expectation that our son may have breathing difficulties due to the analgesia.”
“Banbury is a growing town but has maintained the personal touch to its patients. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the JR. I have seen first-hand at both hospitals as a patient and a member of the nursing staff,” she said.
Gemma Payne, of Banbury, said she could not have wished for better treatment than that she received at the Horton Maternity Hospital.
“It was a very long, traumatic labour. After about 16 hours and after a failed epidural it was time for Fearne to be born.
“Her heart rate did not recover after several pushes so I was told I needed to go into theatre for a forceps assisted delivery -but in case that didn’t work I was prepared for a caesarian section. Luckily it worked and Fearne was born.
“However I had to have another procedure as I had a retained placenta which I was able to have there and then.
“If it wasn’t for the fast response of the midwives and the consultants and surgeon Fearne and myself may not be here today. I owe them my life and my daughter’s life.”
Collette Willoughby Haywood’s son Alfie was born by emergency C-section at the Horton eight weeks prematurely. He was tube fed and cared for by SCBU.
“Anne and the team were amazing, reassuring us every day that Alfie would be fine,” she said. “Had we been at the JR I wouldn’t have been able to spend as much time with my new baby - not being able to drive after my C Section. It would have been a much more stressful and tiring time had it not been for the Horton!”