Grateful mum praises Blackpool Victoria Hospital staff at St Paul's service
A mum whose life and that of her baby girl were saved by tireless staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has sung their praises at a high profile NHS thanksgiving service in London.
Kathrine Dawson, 37, got up to give her speech at St Paul's Cathedral in front of VIPs such as Prince William and Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the congregation looked on in hushed silence.
And some of those listening were said to be moved to tears when she spoke of the dedicated team who helped her and baby daughter Ruby in their life-or-death struggle last year.
Little Ruby, suffering from Covid-19 like Kathrine, was delivered by emergency caesarean 14 months ago, while her mum was sedated and on a ventilator, her life in the balance.
Kathrine, from Garstang, says that neither she nor Ruby might be here today without that hospital team.
She said: "It was an honour to be invited to the service by Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
"I was so determined to get my message across that I wasn't actually nervous, even though I could see Prince William about two metres away from me.
"I kept my eyes focused at the back of the room, I didn't want to make a mistake.
"It wasn't about me, in fairness, it's about those staff who had to deal with me and what they have to do, on a daily basis.
"They're used to seeing life and death as part of their job, but they weren't trained for Covid and the huge extra strain they're all under.
"I want to help them by staying well - I don't want to cause them any more trouble for the rest of my life!"
Kathrine, who works for a global pharmaceutical company, attended the service with six year old daughter, Grace.
When Ruby was born last year she weighed just 4lb 12oz but today she is fit and well and making good progress.
Kathrine, who is married to Stuart and also has another daughter called Ava, added: “Ruby is a fiery redhead but she is always smiling, independent and always happy. You would never guess how little she weighed when she was born.
“Looking back, the experience last year doesn’t seem real. I feel so healthy and Ruby has hit all her milestones and life has gone back to normal.”
Last year, when mum and baby were discharged after 37 days in hospital, staff from the delivery suite, the neonatal unit, A&E and the COVID ITU team formed a guard of honour to see the family safely on their way home.
But she said: "It's the staff who deserve to be applauded, without them I probably wouldn't be here."