THE parents of a baby girl who died after suffering a severe heart condition say they would have lost three precious months with her if it wasn’t for Stafford Hospital’s maternity unit.
Michelle and Nick Whittaker, of Saxonfields, Baswich, are now embarking on a major fundraising drive in honour of their daughter Sienna.
And they have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the public, who raised £10,000 in just eight days.
Sienna was born a month premature at Stafford Hospital in April but after two days she was moved to the special care baby unit.
Staff were then concerned she had a heart condition and needed to be transferred to another hospital to be scanned.
Sienna was taken to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and diagnosed with the rare condition transposition of the great arteries where the main arteries in the heart are the wrong way round. She also had holes in her heart.
She had open heart surgery at a week old but 10 days later developed fluid on her chest. She then developed sepsis and Mr and Mrs Whittaker were told to take things hour by hour.
Sienna had two major operations and four minor procedures, as well as two further sepsis infections, one of which resulted in renal failure.
She then developed chronic lung disease and was due to go to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London but sadly she never made it and died at 15 weeks old.
“It has been very difficult and if it had not been for Stafford Hospital we would have lost her in around 48 hours,” said Mrs Whittaker, 34.
"Their actions meant Sienna had a fighting chance and it gave us three and a half magical months with her that although were pure torture it was still three and a half months that we would go back to just to be with her again.
“The idea of the maternity ward possibly closing seems crazy when without them we would not have had the priceless time with our daughter.”
The family is raising money for Heart Link, which provides accommodation and financial help to parents whose children are in hospital.
Michelle and Nick Whittaker have set up a charity fund. Donations can be made at their Just Giving page.
It began as an alternative to flowers for her funeral in August.
“We couldn’t believe it when there was £10,000 in there in eight days, with donations from all over the world.
“We are continuing to raise money and are now up to £13,341. We would also like to set up a small charity in Sienna’s name.
“Sienna was amazing. She faced bigger battles in her 15 weeks than most people face in a lifetime and although she didn’t make it she did in our eyes.”