Parents Thank Healthcare Professionals

To the healthcare professionals who shine through to provide valuable support during difficult times, a big thank you for making a difference to our CDH journeys.

During our day spent with Leon, (after he had lived for one night, they were able to tell us with a lot of certainty that we needed to get relatives to come in and see Leon as he was almost definitely going to pass away) we had several nurses. They were all wonderful. However, at the end of our day, when it came close to the time to say goodbye, one nurse, Sally, was so warm and gentle, especially with me, showing me what the machines were saying about Leon’s lung function and pressure (without that I could have been so much angrier – even though I did go through an anger stage of grief anyway!), and then when we took him off the machines, she helped me wrap him up and left me alone to hold him as he passed away, but she took pictures, and I am so glad of the photos. After, she helped me bath him, and then was willing to go and do hand and foot prints for us, and then bring Leon back to his big circle of family and a couple of close friends in the grieving room.

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char-mum-babyOver our 7 months in ICU we had many lovely and sometimes ‘favourite’ nurses but we have dubbed one of the nursing assistants at the Mater PICU Jasper’s ‘fairy god mother’. From the first day Tina took a special shining to Jasper. She would come in early to her shift to give him cuddles & have a play and would make sure that any special tapes, masks, etc were never far away & we always had a chair for our bedspace. We knew that when we weren’t there she was ‘watching’ over him for us. We’ve kept in contact & even now she still helps us out when we have to go back to the Mater- whether it be bringing us a cuppa & hug or putting on a load of washing on for us. The beautiful thing is Jasper talks almost daily of his ‘Aunty Tina’.

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Thank you to the John Hunter NICU team for helping my girl. A special thanks to Dr Koert de Waal and our saviour from above surgeon Dr Gerard Roy who saved our girl’s life.

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Aster was a lovely nurse who looked after Lewis at Westmead hospital. We also had a favourite nurse at Westmead Children’s Hospital who we asked for in his last hours. Her name was Natasha and the best doctor he had was Dr Robert Halliday. Dr Albert Shun Lewis’ surgeon at Westmead was also a lovely man and very professional.

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I would say that Rhiannon and Jo who were nurses at Grace Ward was just amazing, they kept me calm and always had the tissues ready when we walked in the door. Rhiannon even came in on her week off to say goodbye to us as we were taking Ariana home. They will always carry a place in our hearts. I also have to praise Dr Shun, her surgeon, one thing we found with him is he didn’t sugar coat anything, he told us how it was and it was nice to have someone speak the truth on the situation. But out of everyone and to this day I have to say I do have a soft spot for Dr Fitzgerald. He is a lovely, gentle man and to this day it is always a pleasure to see him for check ups.

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Thank you Professor Jan Dickenson (the best in Perth). PMH is the best, most especially the doctors and nurses on B ward. Couldn’t pick any one doctor out as they are all brilliant and work as a team.

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Thank you to Kerry that took care of our gorgeous daughter & didn’t give up on her & would tell her to keep fighting. We dubbed her our earth angel, she made our time in the NICU bearable. The days & nights we went into the NICU & she was Arabella’s nurse, we breathed a sigh of relief. She made a huge impact on our lives. She went above & beyond the duty of being a nurse, she was a friend to us, a shoulder to cry on & she formed such a special bond with Arabella. Arabella responded best to Kerry & she would always be on her best behaviour for Kerry. Kerry was due to be Arabella’s nurse the night she passed away so instead she was assigned to be on call for us if needed. Once again she went above & beyond the call of duty. She put together the memory album from the memory box we were given & made up a special little pack for Lucas. She also just sat with us for a few hours talking about life & nursing Arabella.

To Cherelle Evans, our social worker, we would have been lost without her. There are no words to explain the load she took of us throughout our journey. She was able to help me break my lease, help Daniel with Centrelink issues & at such short notice, organise emergency daycare for Lucas at the Mater Childcare. She is a credit to all social workers & someone whom we will be forever grateful for.

Also a big thankyou to the surgeon that operated on Arabella & all of the sonographers & specialists at Mater Mother’s MFM for being there for us.

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Thank you to the NETTS team from Randwick hospital, Dr Eddies Hi and the nurses. Thank you also to the breastfeeding team as they helped me to be able to breast feed my daughter.

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char-nurseWe can never thank Dr Skelton, our local paediatrician, enough for the care he gave Alyssa after she was born with an undiagnosed CDH. He literally spent hours hand ventilating her until the NETS team arrived as the hospital she was delivered in didn’t have a suitable ventilator. After Alyssa passed away he organised an appointment for us to see him so he could answer our questions and let us know we could contact him at any stage if we needed to.

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We have made special friends with a few of Michael’s nurses & keep in regular contact with them. Particularly one, who was his very first nurse & assisted in his repair surgery … She’s now a huge part of our family!

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To the beautiful midwife Sophie Cameron at the Royal Women’s Hospital who so gently and thoughtfully brought our dear Jackson in to this world. Your caring nature and helpful words will never be forgotten. You helped us through the worst thing that has ever happened to us and you did it with utter grace and respect. You helped make Jackson’s birth peaceful, painless, calm and serene. You are a true angel and we won’t ever forget you.

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Dr Tony De Paoli (RHH) journeyed with us from diagnosis until being handed over to the paediatric doctors at 12 months. He was gentle, kind and always had time to answer our questions in the lead up to birth, and during the hospital stay. A few moths after discharge Jeremiah developed increased work of breathing and Tony rang regularly to find out how things were going, and followed up on all tests and scans. He really went above and beyond to care for us.

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To Celina and Jane, our incredible nurses from RCH. We will never be able to thank you enough for the care and love you showed to Clementine and us. We will always remember you and how you helped our family.

To Dr David Tingay, the care and treatment you gave to Clementine, we will always remember and be thankful for. You have also helped us so much through the most difficult time of our lives. When we saw you by Clementine’s bed side on the night she was born, has given us so much peace. Thank you for everything you have helped us with.

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Sue from MFM at KEMH was an absolute blessing to our journey. We have grown close and still visit. I can never thank her enough for her support during our darkest hours. Also Ronnie, from the NICU at KEMH was amazing with our boy. We are forever thankful to her for the love and care she provided during our stay. And Rory, a NICU Dr, for taking a chance on Solomon and switching him to the conventional ventilator which we needed him to be on to be transferred for surgery. That day was like the sun finally shone on us after over a week of clouds. Still to this day I believe he is the reason Solomon is alive.

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Dr Ghan Ko from Townsville Hospital for his compassion, care, sensitivity and gentleness in working with us and with our son.

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All of the Doctors, Nurses and staff at Royal Brisbane Women’s, Mater Children’s, and Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital were amazing in caring for our boy. Many of them went above and beyond, but certainly a special thanks to Dr Donovan at the RBWH NICU, who organised for the Mater team to talk to us in regards to ECMO, which Kurt needed just hours afterwards. It is thanks to Dr Donovan, who was the only person to really know much and be for ECMO at the Royal, that the Mater knew of Kurt, and to possibly expect him needing it. Also, thanks go to Dr Karl, and all of the Mater Retrieval Team, who performed the operation to insert the cannulas for ECMO at some wild hour of that Thursday night/ Friday morning.

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We would like to thank the staff at Geelong Hospital who responded so quickly and competently to Lucy’s undiagnosed CDH – paediatrician Dr Niluka, and obstetrician Dr Asanka. Once Lucy was transferred to the Butterfly Ward at the Royal Children’s Hospital, we were very lucky to receive world-class care. Her nurses were all fabulous, although we particularly remember Amanda’s kindness and level-head, and Raelene’s sense of humour. Lucy’s neonatologist, Dr Leah Hickey, has been an on-going support since the day she was born, and her surgeon, Mr Michael Nightingale, is a wonderfully humble life-saver. We are blessed to have been surrounded by a number of people at RCH who went “over and above” for the three of us. Their empathy and support will never be forgotten.

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Thomas was blessed with many wonderful Drs & nurses at The Grace Ward at The Children’s Hospital At Westmead.
10 years later we still remember and thank
Dr Albert Shun
Dr Nadia Badawi
Dr Robert Halliday
Dr Stephen George
Nurse Rhiannon
Nurse Julianna
Nurse Lyn
Nurse Michelle
And later Dr Dominic Fitzgerald.