by Sue Carr
December 14, 2009
A MUM who was refused donor milk for her premature baby despite fighting breast cancer has had the decision overturned.
Dawn Hockey was 12 weeks pregnant with her second child when she was diagnosed with cancer in June.
Defying the odds and surviving two bouts of chemotherapy, baby Alex was born seven weeks early on November 1, weighing 4lbs 10oz.
But although doctors agreed to provide donor breast milk until Dawn could feed Alex herself, the 28-year-old – who also had a single mastectomy – was left devastated when bosses at Stepping Hill Hospital, in Stockport, said they were stopping the donations.
They claimed there was no evidence there was any benefit in giving milk to babies born after 29 weeks for more than the first few weeks of life.
As reported in the M.E.N. last week, Dawn, of North Road, Glossop, who is married to Michael and also has a 15-month-old son William, decided to
appeal the decision.
But after transferring from Stepping Hill to Tameside Hospital, primary care trust bosses in Tameside and Glossop decided in her favour and will supply donor milk until Dawn can breastfeed, when her chemotherapy ends in March.
Dawn said: “It’s such a relief, it’s amazing. I’m over the moon.
“He has been exposed to two doses of chemotherapy in the womb, we don’t know what damage that has done to him, and there are things in breast milk that strengthen your immune system and they are not in formula milk.
“Now we can concentrate on Christmas and I can concentrate on myself a bit more.
“It’s over and we have got what we wanted. Alex is OK and I’m OK and that’s the main thing. But I am fuming at Stepping Hill. I’m so disappointed they have put us through this.”
Tameside and Glossop PCT says the decision was based on Dawn’s ‘exceptional circumstances’ plus information supporting the continued use of donor milk and the opinion of her new paediatrician at Tameside Hospital. She now plans to make a formal complaint to Stepping Hill.
The former veterinary nurse, who has been flooded with messages of support, said: “I would like to express how grateful we are to Helen Howard, the infant feeding co-ordinator at the PCT.
“She has just been outstanding and so has Tameside Hospital.”