Patient view

Patient view: Our PICU nurse helped us build precious memories

Senior staff nurse Anna Bedrich went above and beyond to ensure we still had family time while our baby was in hospital, says Elina Nupponen

My daughter Freya has a rare syndrome called cerebro-costo-mandibular syndrome and a tracheostomy.

Senior staff nurse Anna Bedrich with Freya

When she was 6 months old, Freya became seriously ill with a respiratory infection and was transferred to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at St Mary’s Hospital in London, where she remained for a month, fighting for her life.

The team looked after her and us, her parents, with the highest level of skill and true compassion.

Beyond the ward

Anna, in particular, stuck in my mind. Besides her clinical skills, which cannot be faulted, she went beyond the call of duty and tried to arrange opportunities for us to do ‘normal’ baby things. 

When Freya was well enough, Anna spent hours helping to find us a safe wheelchair buggy so we could take Freya out.

She took us for lovely walks down by the canal and came to have coffee with us. It meant a lot to get out of the ward and do those simple things most parents take for granted.

Freya has been in hospitals most of her life and has many operations scheduled in the future. Her condition is considered life-threatening and we do not know how long we will have with her.

Anna helped us to relax during the most stressful time in our lives and is a part of some precious happy memories.

During our time at St Mary's, I had some really good chats with Anna.

It was great to be able to talk about Freya's condition and, as a layperson, learn more about the ins and outs of the world we found ourselves in. But it was also good to chat about other things and Anna was always great company. 

Comfort blankets

St Mary's PICU has a wonderful programme that provides beautiful hand-knitted blankets for patients.

When your child is critically ill and in a controlled, clinical environment, it is easy to feel at loss as a parent. You are rarely able to have cuddles or do everyday parenting things like changing nappies or feeding.

The knitted blankets make the environment feel a little bit more like home.

Anna manages the programme of volunteers who knit these blankets, and makes sure they are properly stocked and maintained – yet another thing she has taken on to help patients and their families.

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