Forever in our hearts
Reporter: MARINA BERRY
Date online: 06 September 2013
Family’s tribute to hospital staff who fought to save lost twin
A PRECIOUS 129 days of life given to baby Rory Stott has prompted a heartbroken family to launch a huge fund-raising drive for the highly-skilled staff at the Royal Oldham Hospital.
Twins Conor and Rory were born 15 weeks early to parents Emma and Justin Stott.
Experts at the hospital’s neonatal unit battled to save the babies.
And although Conor, born weighing 2lb 2oz, survived, they were unable to save Rory, who weighed just 1lb 7oz. Emma’s mother, Zoe Smeeton, recalled the difficult period for the family.
“They were given a 40-60 per cent chance of survival.
“They were immediately taken from their mother, tubes inserted into their tiny bodies, intravenous lines, nasogastric and ventilation,” she said.
“It was the start of a wild mouse ride. Elated one day, despairing the next. The doctors tried everything to get Rory to breathe on his own. He was a battler, he fought like a soldier — so hard.
“The Wednesday before his death, staff contacted Emma and Justin informing them that Rory needed to go back on the ventilator.
“His tired little body was swollen from fighting. Emma and Justin were at the unit almost every waking hour.
“When they did go home to sleep they always telephoned before getting into bed. In the morning before they returned, again they would ring.
“The staff were always there to support them.”
On Friday, February 1, the couple were told Rory had deteriorated.”
His exhausted body was giving up and nothing doctors could do would save him.
Zoe continued her heart-rending story: “Saturday dawned a lovely spring day. Emma and Justin travelled up to the unit with heavy hearts.
“Rory was in a small room just off the main intensive care area. All his observations recorded by the staff confirmed he was shutting down. He couldn’t continue to fight. It was too painful.
“The staff were skilled in knowing just how to handle the situation facing them.
“Rory was fed for the last time through one of his tubes so he would not be hungry, then the ventilator and all the tubes were removed.
“Rory was placed in his parents’ outstretched, protective arms, for the last time. There he was allowed to die with such dignity.”
Despite their devastation, the family are keen to thank staff who worked tirelessly to save Rory, and are raising money for the unit.
They have already brought in £2,000, and the twins’ grandfather, Paul Smeeton will later this month tackle a tough ride on his new Ducati Multistrada 1200 from Land’s End to John O’Groats in one day to boost the fund.
Paul said: “The staff at the neonatal unit gave Rory 129 days of life after he was born, 129 days he had with his parents, brother and all his extended family, 129 days that we all got to know him.”
Paul and Zoe run Bitzforbikes in Castleton, Rochdale, where Paul will leave for his marathon expedition on September 28.
He will set out from Land’s End at 5am to cover the 837 miles to his destination in one day.
In total he will ride twice the distance including the journey to the start and home from the finish, arriving back on Sunday for a family birthday party for Conor.
Zoe said: “We are both 55 now and it’s an awful long way for Paul to ride in a day.
“There is only so long he can ride without a stop, for his concentration and stiffness.”
Paul is an experienced biker, and the couple spent six months touring Europe by motorbike for their first holiday together in 1979.
Zoe said: “As his wife, I feel it will be a cathartic event for Paul to do the run.
“Rory’s death hit him hard. He wanted to do the run on his own so he had lots of time to be alone with his thoughts.”
She too wants to thank the medics who cared for Conor and Rory, and said: “It’s fantastic that Oldham has got Level Three status for its neonatal unit, otherwise Emma and Justin would have had to travel to St Mary’s or Hope Hospital.
“That’s why we are really raising money, to support this fantastic unit which is there for the future.”
Zoe and Paul have already run a number of motorbike rallies and are planning a 2014 calendar with their staff in cheeky poses with spare parts taken from their shop.
To sponsor Paul on his Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge, go to www.justgiving.com/zoe-smeeton.
Have Your Say