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Image relating to Théa thriving thanks to care from Neonatal Community Outreach Team

Théa thriving thanks to care from Neonatal Community Outreach Team

She was born weighing less than a bag of sugar, but Théa Ford is now a thriving six month old adored by her family.

Her story is in part a result of a landmark first success for a specialist service that aims to cut the length of hospital stays and allow premature babies to be cared for at home.

The Neonatal Community Outreach Team (NCOT), hosted by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, was launched last September.

And little Théa, the first baby to go home with the NCOT on home oxygen, has now been discharged after 76 days in their care.

Théa previously spent 106 days in hospital after being born at just 25 weeks with a bleed on the brain and weighing just 800g.

Denise Campbell-Frost, NCOT Oxygen Lead, said: “It can be a very scary experience for parents taking their babies home on oxygen.

“Being able to share my knowledge and skills with families helps take away a little bit of that anxiousness for them.

“It is such a rewarding job and has been amazing to see Théa grow and weaned off the oxygen.”

The NCOT work across the three neonatal units within our Health and Care Partnership (HCP) system - UHCW, South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust and George Eliot Hospital, Nuneaton - to ensure a smooth transition from hospital to home.

Help they provide also includes supporting the transition from tube to oral feeds.

Mum Natasha, who also has two boys – Tate, six, and Tobi, three – thanked hospital staff who had to rush her to surgery with an umbilical cord prolapse.

“When then I saw her, my heart was so full but at the same time I was so frightened and fearing for her life,” she said.

“The day that Théa was born it was found that she had a bleed on the brain. She was four days old when (Consultant Neonatologist) Dr Lakshmanan came to me with tears in her eyes. I was expecting the worst.

“We cried together as she told me the bleed had completely disappeared, there was no trace of it whatsoever.

“I cannot express the gratitude I have for the surgeons and consultants that saved my daughter. I am eternally grateful for each and every one of them.

“My daughter is the strongest and bravest little lady. She is now six months old and weighs 10lb 2oz.

"So to all the parents currently in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, stay strong and keep fighting for your amazing babies."

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