The Welsh Ambulance Service has found a unique way to show compassion to grieving parents by creating “cuddle pockets” to hold premature stillborn babies. The knit pockets are specially designed to hold children that are stillborn at younger than 24 weeks. Once the child is placed inside, the parents can cradle and hold their child en route to the hospital.
According to the Western Telegraph, the initiative was launched after feedback from parents who have been in this unfortunate situation, only to discover that emergency personnel had no efficient way of transporting their child’s small remains with dignity. The pockets were donated by an organization called Needles and Hooks Angels and Preemies, and will be placed in ambulances and rapid response cars.
Western Telegraph reports that Steve Magee, clinical lead for the project, spoke of its significance. “The loss of a baby is incredibly difficult for both the parents and the ambulance crews who attend,” he said. “Historically, our crews have had no compassionate way of wrapping and transporting premature stillborn babies and have had to improvise with the equipment they have. We wanted to do something that would make the journey to hospital less distressing for everyone.”
While it is unlikely that these pockets will need to be used often, they are a compassionate way for emergency personnel to show respect to the child and his or her family. They’re also a touching way of recognizing the humanity of these stillborn children. Even at less than 24 weeks, these premature babies are clearly children, and their loss is bereaved. Yet, throughout the world, millions of babies at this age are routinely killed through abortion. These cuddle pockets are an important, striking reminder that preborn and newly-born children of any age are worthy of dignified treatment.
Claire Roche, Executive Director of Quality and Nursing for the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, echoed these sentiments. “Dignity and compassion is so vital to improving the experience of families when they suffer a tragic pregnancy loss. Thankfully, cuddle pockets will not be needed very often, but when they are, they can make such a difference for mothers, fathers, and families,” she said. “For parents, knowing that their babies are being treated with the utmost respect is so important, as well as our staff feeling they are able to provide babies and their families with support and care when they need it most.”
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