Edinburgh parents of baby who 'died in their arms' thank Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity for work
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The parents of a baby boy who died in their arms when he was just nine months old have said they will “never forget him”.
Fiona and Martin Elliot’s son Jamie was born in December 2018, with a number of complications, including fluid where his cerebellum should have been, hearing loss, sight loss, and bone marrow deficiencies. Despite his medical difficulties, Fiona described Jamie as “a very chilled out, happy little chap". She said: “He liked cuddles, hated bath time and having his nappy changed, and loved his stuffed animals, particularly his dinosaurs. We call him our strong stegosaurus”.
While Jamie was a happy baby, his parents were told that he might never walk or talk, and likely would not live to adulthood. The children’s hospital became the family’s second home. Despite medical efforts, he sadly died in his parents arms at the Sick Kids in Edinburgh in August 2019, when he was only nine months old.
After Jamie’s death, Fiona felt like she had let her son down. She said: “We’re his parents. We were supposed to be able to protect him and we hadn’t. We hadn’t managed to keep him safe. That guilt eats away at you.” During this difficult time, Fiona and Martin were supported by Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC), which funded memory making activities to help the couple remember their son.
Fiona said: “The support ECHC gave brought joy at a really difficult time. We were terrified we were going to forget things about Jamie - how tiny his hands and feet are, the curl in his hair, what his little fingerprints looked like. The memory making activities we did were so personal. They took our handprints and turned them into stegosaurus dinosaurs.”
The day Jamie died, his parents were gifted three elephants – knitted by ECHC volunteers. Fiona said: “They remind us not only of our son, but of the kindness of strangers. It helped us realise we weren’t on our own. A cast of our hands sits in our hallway; a lovely reminder of the three of us. There might now be two people in our house, but we will always be a three. Jamie is the biggest part of our lives. We’ll never forget him.”
Nearly four years on from their son’s death, Fiona and Jamie are supporting ECHC’s new Never Forget appeal, which aims to help families through bereavement and help them to cope with the loss of a child. Pippa Johnston, director at ECHC, said: “Each year, our wonderful colleagues in NHS Lothian support around 50 families whose child dies at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People. That’s one family every week. And we’re here to support them every step of the way.
“While most families celebrate the ‘firsts’ – the first steps, the first words, the first tooth, donations to our appeal mean we can help families to mark the ‘lasts’, with compassion, love and respect. Our supporters are crucial in providing funds to bring some comfort to these families, helping them to cope with life without their child. We would like to thank anyone who is kind enough to donate when times are financially tough for us all.”