Kathrine Dawson, 36, found herself fighting for her life after contracting COVID-19 at 32 weeks, and daughter Ruby was born already infected with the virus – making the child one of the youngest coronavirus patients around the world.
The two men left Blackpool Victoria Hospital to cheer on NHS staff and also found Ruby’s father Stuart, who was unable to visit them due to hospital restrictions.
When Ms. Dawson began to experience symptoms at 32 weeks pregnant, she was taken to the emergency room with a suspected lung infection.
A swab revealed that she had contracted coronavirus – despite being shielded for three weeks – and the decision was made to give birth by cesarean. Baby Ruby was born on April 1.
Ms. Dawson’s condition deteriorated and she had to make an emotional video call to her husband and two daughters, Grace, five, and Ava, 11 months, who were back home.
“It was like saying goodbye, it could have been the last phone call,” said Dawson.
“I owe my future to the staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. I thought I was going to be a widow who looked after young children alone, but they saved [Kathrine’s] Ruby’s life and life.
“I was unable to visit them because of the coronavirus and I had 26 days of waiting, worry and stress.”
Ms. Dawson was put into an induced coma and placed on a ventilator, and doctors expected her chances of survival to be 50/50.
Critical care consultant Dr. Jason Cupitt said, “It was a very difficult case and we were very concerned that she couldn’t make it.
“She was deeply sedated and we didn’t see much change, but then, five days later, there was a spark of light at the end of the tunnel as her oxygen levels started to improve. “
Mr. Dawson received daily updates from the hospital, including neonatal diaries from Ruby State.
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He said they were his “lifeline,” adding, “Without these newspapers, Ruby and I would have been strangers, but when I finally saw her, I felt like I knew her.”
Ms. Dawson was released, along with Ruby, after 37 days in hospital.
As they left, staff in the delivery room, neonatal unit, A&E and COVID ITU formed an honor guard and burst into applause.
Dr. Cupitt said: “It was a particularly emotional case for everyone. Kathrine and Ruby touched everyone’s heart and she’s someone I will always remember. “
Nicola Parry, midwifery professional at the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Their story is all about humanity shown by the staff of this Trust and we wish the Dawson family all the happiness and health necessary to progress in their life together. “