Magical first for the Folkie!

Dr Gault (right) with Liam's mother (front) and the assembled neo-natal team.
General
Friday, 16 March 2012
A baby is born for the first time in over a decade at Moyne Health Services.

The Port Fairy Folk Festival has just become an even more magical place.

Last Friday night, a baby was born at the Port Fairy Hospital for the first time in over a decade. But at only 26 weeks gestation, baby Liam posed a major challenge to the doctors and nurses on duty.

CPR and then ventilating an infant weighing only 900 grams is not part of the normal local medical duties.

His mother presented to the hospital complaining of abdominal pains. In less than half an hour (before a transfer to Warrnambool could occur) the baby was born in the outpatients department and required immediate intensive resuscitation. The hospital's old humidicrib was quickly taken out of retirement and yielded vital equipment. MICA ambulance officers were, by then, in attendance and were also able to provide useful equipment.

However, a certain amount of improvisation was necessary. Although the on-duty paediatrician was on his way from Warrnambool, the sudden appearance of a regular folk festival visitor and neonatal physician was most welcome. She had been paged by the neonatal retrieval co-ordinator in Melbourne, who happend to know she was in Port Fairy for the weekend.

Abandoning her favourite band My Friend the Chocolate Cake, she ran to the front entrance just as a festival bus was passing and commandeered it as an express to the hospital.

Liam and his parents soon had three nurses, three GP's, a paediatrician, a neonatal paediatrician and two ambulance crew in attendance.

Despite this, there were a few anxious moments, though given the initial circumstances, the resuscitation proceeded as well as could possibly have done.

Once it was clear that Liam was safe, Liams's mother and her husband were able to touch him and there were smiles and photos all round. Two-and-a-half hours later, the neonatal retrieval team arrived to prepare him for his return to an intensive care unit in Melbourne.

 Routine work work for them but not in Port Fairy.

* In another amazing twist to the story, Liam's great great grandmother, Priscilla Harvey was born at the Port Fairy Hospital in 1870!

Article appeared in The Moyne Gazette March 15th, 2012