A hospital team helped a dying mother spend precious moments with her newborn baby. Now the team has received a special award and been praised by her family. Catherine Scott reports.
A terminally-ill mother was able to spend precious time with her new born baby thanks to a specialist team of doctors, nurses and midwives.
Nasreen Akhtar, 36, was diagnosed with terminal cancer after she discovered she was pregnant with her first child.
Staff at Bradford Royal Infirmary’s labour ward provided care for Nasreen during and after the birth.
The team has now received Bradford Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust’s Team of the Year award for 2014. They worked collaboratively with staff from the hospital’s palliative care team.
Together the group drew up a care plan for the baby’s birth and as Nasreen’s cancer advanced, arranged for her baby to be born via caesarean section in the labour ward operating theatre at just 28 weeks.
“Unfortunately the initial plan to discharge Nasreen from the maternity unit following the birth of her baby, so she could continue her treatment, never happened because it became clear that she was too ill to continue with her planned treatment,” explains midwifery matron, Sheila Nolan.
A team including the consultant obstetrician, midwifery matron, labour ward co-ordinator, consultant oncologist, consultant neonatologist, neonatal registrar, the MacMillan nurse specialist and midwives, came together to develop a palliative care plan which would see Nasreen nursed on the labour ward with the support of the hospital’s chaplaincy team.
The proximity of the labour ward to the neonatal unit next door ensured that Nasreen could have easy access to her baby at any time of the day or night.
The team also set aside a special room where Nasreen’s family and husband, Waseem, could gather for daily prayers.
Nasreen was nursed on the labour ward for more than a month until she passed away.
Mrs Nolan continued: “Our award is dedicated to Nasreen and her family whose courage in the face of adversity shone through and we were only too happy to adapt our nursing and medical practices so that she could spend quality time with her new-born baby.
“Nasreen shall forever remain in our hearts and it was a real privilege to care for her.
“She has had a profound effect on the team and we will never forget her or her baby.”
The team say they will plough their £5,000 winnings back into their work on the labour ward.
Wasreem and Nasreen’s family recently returned to the labour ward to personally thank midwifery, nursing and medical staff for the “first-rate care” they had given Nasreen, which had crossed a number of specialities and the private facilities they had given her in the month before she died.
They also praised the Foundation Trust’s chaplaincy team for supporting Nasreem’s faith which was upheld throughout her time at the BRI.
Presenting the Team of the Year award Sovereign Health Care’s chief executive Russ Piper said: “The care you have given this patient and her family has been amazing and I commend you for it.”