New documentary features Scottish neonatal unit

A new TV series looking at the work of a Scottish hospital’s neonatal unit is coming to our screens.

The work of the dedicated staff at University Hospital Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, comes under the spotlight in this three-part documentary series looking at the neonatal unit and the very sick and premature babies who rely on the specialist care there.

With some little ones born only half-way into their mothers’ pregnancies, the odds are stacked against them and the parents face an emotional rollercoaster as they fight for survival.

In the first episode, to be shown on Thursday, 3 October, we meet Charlie – born at 23 weeks and facing an uphill struggle with lungs that are only half grown. His tiny brain is underdeveloped and he is at risk of bleeding. Even gentle medical handling causes his great physical stress, but parents Jack and Courtney stay strong.

First-time mum Courtney said: ‘It’s natural to have doubts when you know they’re so ill, but you’ve got to have hope. If you don’t have hope, you don’t have anything.’

Elsewhere in the neonatal unit, Heather and Colin, the parents of premature twins Grace and David, are preparing for the day they’ve been waiting for, to be fully reunited as a family at home.

Baby Grace got home from hospital when she was four months old to join her mum, dad and big brother Nathan, but David was still too poorly to join them. At last it looks like the day is approaching when the family of five can all be together.

There’s trepidation among the staff too as they perform a procedure rarely required when a baby’s entire blood supply needs to be replaced. His own rhesus positive blood was cross-contaminated by his mum’s rhesus negative blood during the birth, meaning there could be potentially-fatal consequences without intervention.

Tiny Lives is a Red Sky production for BBC Scotland.

Tiny Lives is a three-part series beginning on Thursday 3 October, to be shown on BBC One Scotland from 9-10pm.