News

'Sugar-bag baby' returns to work in unit that saved her life

A paediatric nursing student is carrying out her placement at the same neonatal ward where she was cared for as a preterm baby.
Sophie Proud's remarkable placement

A paediatric nursing student has returned to work on the same neonatal ward where her life was saved when she was a baby.

Sophie Proud on her placement at Royal Victoria Infirmarys special care baby unit in Newcastle where she was cared for as a baby. From left: Nick Embleton, Karen Matthison, Sophie Proud, Lizzie Worrall, Kelly Alexander and Alan Fenton

Twenty years ago, Sophie Proud was dubbed a sugar-bag baby' when she was born at 24-weeks gestation weighing just 1lb 7oz.

She was cared for by staff at the Royal Victoria Infirmarys special care baby unit in Newcastle, some of whom are still working there two decades later.

The Teesside University student has now returned to the unit for a placement as part of her degree course.

A bit of hope

Ms Proud, who is also an ambassador for the charity Tiny

A paediatric nursing student has returned to work on the same neonatal ward where her life was saved when she was a baby.

Sophie Proud on her placement at Royal Victoria Infirmary’s special care baby unit in Newcastle where she was cared for as a baby. From left: Nick Embleton, Karen Matthison, Sophie Proud, Lizzie Worrall, Kelly Alexander and Alan Fenton

Twenty years ago, Sophie Proud was dubbed a ‘sugar-bag baby' when she was born at 24-weeks gestation weighing just 1lb 7oz.

She was cared for by staff at the Royal Victoria Infirmary’s special care baby unit in Newcastle, some of whom are still working there two decades later.

The Teesside University student has now returned to the unit for a placement as part of her degree course.

‘A bit of hope’

Ms Proud, who is also an ambassador for the charity Tiny Lives, said: ‘It’s strange to stand next to an incubator knowing I used one as a baby, but it's been a dream come true to work with the team here, including some of the doctors and nurses who saved my life.

‘It's also been amazing to tell (parents of preterm babies at the unit) that I was in one of these cots 20 years ago and give them a bit of hope.’

During her time on the unit as a baby, Ms Proud had open-heart surgery, an operation to prevent her from going blind, 10 bouts of pneumonia, blood poisoning which almost cost her a hand, and collapsed lungs.

Consultant neonatologist Nick Embleton was a registrar at the unit when Ms Proud was born.

He said: ‘It has been a privilege to still be in contact with Sophie 20 years on and to see how she has grown from a baby who we feared was not going to survive, into a very special person who is achieving so much with her life.’

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs