‘It’s thanks to you that she’s here’ – grateful mum thanks behind-the-scenes NHS staff for saving her baby
by Claire Still
First-time mum Angela Burgess (pictured above, centre), 38, had an emotional meeting with Colleen Sanderson (pictured above, right), a senior biomedical scientist at our Trust, to thank her for the role she played in saving baby Grace’s life. (Also pictured above with Angela and Colleen is Anne Minogue, interim lead transfusion practitioner.)
Angela came to Queen’s Hospital on Wednesday 14 April, two weeks ahead of her due date to have a cervical stitch removed. It was when Colleen was looking at her routine blood sample in our Pathology lab that she realised something wasn’t right. On closer examination with her manager Xiaohui Tang, they found it was due to a large foetal bleed.
Quick-thinking Colleen contacted our ante-natal ward, from where Angela was about to be sent home, so an emergency c-section could be arranged. Baby Grace (pictured above) was delivered safely that same day, with Angela’s husband Christian rushing to our hospital to be by her side.
Angela, of Brentwood, said: “Colleen and the Transfusion team are the unsung heroes of the NHS. I see my doctors and nurses so I can thank them, I never realised there was a Transfusion team behind the scene that did this.
“No words can thank them for everything they’ve done and I will make sure one day Grace knows the story of how she got here and the people who saved her life. It’s thanks to them that she’s here. It was only when it was fully explained to me that I realised how serious it could have been. I am so grateful that Colleen was there that day, and picked this up.”
Colleen, who in the same week had become an acting senior biomedical scientist, said any of her colleagues would have done the same; however, she was delighted to meet Angela face-to-face.
She said: “As we are a behind-the-scenes service we don’t get to meet our patients, they are names on a tube, so it was lovely to see Angela’s face and hear that baby Grace is doing well.
“It feels really good to have played my part in this, it’s a humbling experience. I’m really proud to have an opportunity to show what goes on that patients don’t see, this is what we do every day and I don’t know how many lives the team has saved.”
Grace, a much-longed for IVF baby, has remained on our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to ensure she is feeding well before being allowed home.
Angela added: “It’s been quite a journey to have her. I’m so grateful my doctor explained to me what happened as I was worried I did something wrong.
“Colleen is so humble and I don’t think even she realises just what she’s done for my family.”