Comment: A reminder of how far we’ve come

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Marie Storrar spent more than 100 difficult days by her baby’s cot willing her tiny 1lb 8oz daughter Eve to survive.

Born at just 24 weeks, Eve’s size meant than Marie has to be prepared for the worst. It was a traumatic period for the whole family and yet a story that many families across the Lothians will be familiar with.

But Eve survived thanks to the skill and dedication of the doctors and nurses of NHS Lothian. She is now a happy healthy six-year-old pupil at Trinity Primary School.

Many of us – especially in our younger years – don’t give much thought to the NHS. We just expect it to be there, 24/7, waiting to catch us when we fall. And 
invariably it is.

The emotion of watching her daughter grow up has now led to Marie pledging to pay the NHS back. It is estimated that the 107 days she spent in hospital cost £107,000 – £1000 for every day.

This is a grand gesture from a family who now really appreciate the meaning of care from “cradle to grave”.

Prior to the launch of the NHS in 1948, healthcare in Britain was of a poor standard. Women and children had to pay in order to obtain medical care and many could not afford to do so.

Infant mortality rates were high and almost four out of every 100 babies were either stillborn or died within the first week of birth.

There were no antibiotics and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, pneumonia, meningitis and rheumatic fever killed thousands of people each year.

Marie’s story is a reminder of how far we come. And why none of us should take the NHS for granted.

Without it, we might all have a rather large bill to pay.