LOSING a child is the most devastating experience any parent has to endure – but the help of dedicated staff can provide a glimmer of light.
Nicola Welsh, chief executive of bereavement charity Sands Lothian, has nominated midwives Emma Campbell and Lynn Rose, and medical photographer Gill Thomson, for the NHS Lothian Health Hero award for their work with families.
It comes as part of an Evening News bid to seek out the unsung heroes of the health service.
Nicola, of Linlithgow, knows how much of a difference this care can make after her three-week-old son, Theo, passed away in 2009 from a rare abdominal defect.
She said: “I am big believer in the difference between healthy grief and really difficult grief, and I think a lot of that stems from what happens in the hospital.
“When I lost Theo, I was so numb from the shock that I didn’t know what to do. I needed people to give me the confidence to say I could hold him and take all the time I needed.
“That extra time with your child and the support can make a big difference later.
“I know they say they are just doing their jobs, but when you see them in action and hear the feedback from patients, it is just amazing.
“They are really going the extra mile to give real personal care.”
The trio work as part of a team at St John’s Hospital, Livingston, where they have ensured its family room can meet parents’ needs.
Emma and Lynn spearheaded fundraising for a cold cuddle cot for the facility, which allows parents to spend more time with their baby, and provided home comforts so it is warm and welcoming.
Photographer Gill takes pictures of the baby, making an album for the family to take away when they leave the hospital.
Emma, 33, of Tranent, said: “It is sadly part of a midwife’s job to look after mums who are bereaved. It’s very difficult for the families and for the midwives involved, too.
“Nicola does give us feedback from patients who have attended her support groups. It’s amazing for us when families go through such a difficult time, that they find the time and energy to think about us.”
Lynn, 51, from Craiglockart, said: “We are all very surprised and shocked to have been nominated. We feel very honoured that what we do has made a difference as we work very hard, but it is all part of our jobs.”
Nominations have closed for the award.
• THE Health Hero shortlist will be announced in early May with winners revealed during a glittering awards ceremony to be held at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange on June 17.