Mum says ‘thank you’ to hospital staff

IN October last year the Parke family from Coleraine faced a bleak situation.

Donna Parke, who was 26 weeks pregnant took seriously ill, and was transferred to Altnagelvin where she was triaged, and eventually after her condition deteriorated significantly, she was admitted to intensive care and had to be ventilated. Her distraught husband, Rodney, and her son Jordon, were taken to one side and advised that the next 48 ours would be crucial, but if Donna was no better, the only option would be to switch off the ventilator, as all other care options had been exhausted.

Recalling the nightmare which nearly claimed her life, Donna said she now wanted to thank the staff at Altnagelvin ICU and maternity units for the TLC she received that resulted in her full recovery and the birth of a healthy baby girl in January.

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“I was 26 weeks pregnant when I took a chest infection and I started to have contractions,” she said.

“I went to hospital but was transferred from Coleraine to Altnagelvin on the first Friday of the month, and when I got there they noticed that I was having breathing difficulties,” she said, revealing that she was put on oxygen.

“I as getting worse so I was transferred to the intensive care unit, and from there I deteriorated again, so they asked my husband Rodney if they could put me on a ventilator,” she said.

“I don’t remember anything about it, but they have told me I was conscious, but I was so ill I did not know what was going on. I think I was on the ventilator for a week or so in the end up, but at one stage they said to my husband and my son, John, who was 16, that if I did not improve within 48 hours they would turn the machine off because they had done all they could do for me,” said Donna.

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Medical staff and Donna’s family were left to wait and pray for a positive outcome, as Donna’s health hung in the balance, and the maternity unit specialists were on stand-by to operate and try and save the couple’s unborn baby, if the worst happened and Donna lost her battle for life.

Thankfully, the miraculous happened and after two days Donna rallied and set about systematically removing all the tubes and monitor attachments that had spent the past 48 hours rhythmically recording the pregnant mother’s progress.

“The medical staff had to sedate me and had to put the tubes back in and attach all the monitors again,” said Donna laughing, and adding: “They said they did not care that I had removed them all because at that stage they knew I was going to recover.”

The icing on the cake came on January 16, when little Adrianna made her world debut - a bouncing six pounds and one ounce of joy.

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“Right now all I want to do is say thanks to the staff at Altnagelvin. they were fantastic. You never hear of them getting any praise, but I just want to thank them all. They were absolutely fantastic to Rodney too,” she said.

Adrianna’s older brother and sisters, Jordon (16), Rosland (15) and Lucinda (18), have embraced their new baby sister with enthusiasm, and Donna noted that the youngest member of the household was “the apple of everyone’s eye. She is spoiled rotten, you have to book an appointment to hod her in our house,”

Thanking the medical staff who also nursed her in Coleraine, and the midwives who delivered Adrianna, Donna said Jordon was planning a fundraising run to say thank you.