Leicestershire baby with breathing problems helped in new trial

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image copyrightLeicester’s Hospitals Trust
image captionLexi-Grace was born at 37 weeks at Leicester Royal Infirmary on 3 September
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A baby who was suffering with breathing difficulties following birth was able to go home a week later after taking part in a new hospital trial.

Lexi-Grace Sketchley had a substance to ease her breathing delivered via a tube at Leicester Royal Infirmary on 3 September.

The next morning she could breathe unaided, the hospital trust said.

Her mother Mel Beazeley said she was “proud” Lexi was the first in a trial that will help others.

Lexi-Grace, from Humberstone, was born at 37 weeks by Caesarean section.

Soon after delivery, she experienced breathing problems and was rushed to the neonatal unit for further help.

The hospital said it believes she was the first patient to take part in the UK-wide study named SurfON trial (Surfactant Or Not) which aims to treat babies born between two to six weeks early with breathing problems.

Shane Sketchley and Mel Beazeley with Lexi-Graceimage copyrightFamily handout
image captionLexi-Grace with her parents Shane and Mel

Surfactant, a substance that makes it easier for babies to breathe, is produced in the lungs of healthy full-term babies.

Babies who are born early often do not make enough surfactant. As part of the trial, a dose of surfactant was inserted through a small tube in Lexi-Grace’s windpipe.

Shane Sketchley with Lexi-Graceimage copyrightFamily handout
image captionShane Sketchley with Lexi-Grace at hospital

Ms Beazeley said she was initially “distraught” when her baby was rushed away for treatment. “Your mind goes ten to the dozen but I didn’t feel she was in danger,” she said.

When she was told about the trial, she said she felt her daughter was “the perfect candidate”.

“It made us proud that she was able to help,” she said.

Lexi-Grace’s father Shane Sketchley said: “As a parent, the last thing you want is to see your child suffering so we knew that if it could help Lexi, then yes, we’d go for it.”

Professor Elaine Boyle, a consultant neonatologist at Leicester’s Hospitals, said they were “delighted” to be the lead site for the study.

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