Consultant neonatologist Chris Day joined Bradford Teaching Hospitals in 1980 after graduating from the University of Leeds and the 65-year-old admits his interest was first sparked by family stories of his own arrival.
He said: “My mother, when pregnant with me, had a condition that resulted in the baby getting really anaemic, with a real risk of dying. It was the 1950s and we were in the first few years of pioneering intensive care for babies. I was in hospital for a couple of weeks and I like to think that’s why I am a neonatologist.”
Mr Day is based at Bradford Royal Infirmary and when not giving live saving treatment to some of the 550 babies seen by the neonatal unit each year, he can often be found reading them bedtime stories.
He added: “When you resuscitate a baby and they improve, it gets you right in there – in the heart. The tragedies of sick babies are particularly wretched, but you can’t just have the joy without the sadness.”
He was featured on television last year and spoke to Stacey Dooley while filming for Panorama’s Lockdown Babies.
Chief Medical Officer at Bradford Teaching Hospitals, Dr Ray Smith, said: “Huge thanks to Chris for everything he has done for the thousands of babies that have passed through his care throughout his 41 years at Bradford Royal Infirmary’s neonatal unit.
“He not only spent many years as clinical lead for the department but he’s also been responsible for creating the very best standards for the Yorkshire and Humber Neonatal Operational Delivery Network which includes 18 neonatal units in Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and Northern Lincolnshire.
“As he hangs up his stethoscope, he can be reassured that he will be most sincerely missed, not just by his colleagues but by the many families who remain grateful to him for the care he has given their ill and premature babies.”
After retiring at the end of this month, Mr Day will conduct clinical case reviews for the Ockenden inquiry which is looking into more than 1,800 cases of alleged poor care and baby deaths at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.