New documentary series Baby Hospital follows the moving stories of the babies being cared for on the Neonatal Unit at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
Everyone hopes for a healthy happy baby – but this three part series looks at the one in ten cases where things don’t go to plan, and the baby ends up in intensive care, teetering between life and death.
With unique access to the hospital, the three part series will focus on babies born as much as 16 weeks early, as well as the stories of their families, providing a rare and intimate insight into the intensely demanding work of the doctors and nurses tasked with doing all they can to save their tiny patients’ lives.
The Women’s Hospital in Liverpool is the largest of its kind in the country. As a centre of excellence, its dedicated staff prides themselves on being at the cutting edge of neonatal science. They provide round the clock care for babies born prematurely, with low weight or who have a medical condition requiring specialist treatment. The neonatal unit cares for a thousand babies a year – some of the smallest and sickest – babies who weigh just half a pound, and who are on the cusp of life.
Dr Chris Dewhurst explains: “Our little babies are the most vulnerable of all patients really. The baby has not been asked to be born early or poorly. I always think this is the baby’s first day alive; he hasn’t got his mum and dad here, so we need to take care of him and treat him like our own baby.
“The dream of everyone when they think about babies is these very cute cuddly little things in white nappies being taken home to beautiful houses and that’s not always the case.
“I like to think of the neonatal unit as a happy place but we have to accept that we experience the extremes of human emotion on here. We will have the elation of parents taking home their 24 week baby, through to the despair and sadness of parents who are expecting a normal term healthy term baby and something goes wrong.”
For most parents the birth of a baby is a time of great happiness and excitement. But when there are complications, a baby is born prematurely or has medical problems, parents face an emotional roller coaster.
The series shows the devotion and determination of the nursing staff as they battle to save the lives of babies in their care, and the courage of the families as they try to cope with difficult and heart rending decisions about their children’s future.
Executive producer Paul Hamann said: “Nine out of ten babies in the UK are born healthy, so most of us take having a healthy baby for granted.
“But the senior staff at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, the largest in this country, wanted to tell the real story of what happens to the one in ten, where things don’t go to plan – and to show exactly what that can mean for families.”