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Parents thank Daisy Hill Hospital and Good Samaritan for ‘saving baby’s life’

'Ada was lifeless, completely blue and her eyes were rolling in the back of her head'

Baby Ada Newry
Baby Ada in hospital. She is now recovering at home

A Newry father whose baby daughter took ill at the weekend and stopped breathing has credited Daisy Hill Hospital and a passing motorist with saving her life.

Conor McKeown, his partner Holly and their six-month-old daughter Ada were attending a family birthday at the Canal Court Hotel on Friday night when the emergency arose just after 7pm.

He said: “I was at the bar, getting a round of drinks, when Holly ran past screaming with Ada in her arms. Ada was lifeless, completely blue and her eyes were rolling in the back of her head.

“Instinct kicked in and I grabbed her off Holly and ran down the stairs. We had parked at the other side of Newry and I knew I didn’t have enough time to get to the car, so I ran out the front of the hotel and flagged down the first car I saw.”

That car was being driven by local woman Aisling Mcclorey. She took the couple and Ada straight to Daisy Hill Hospital, with Conor’s cousin running ahead to clear traffic blocking the route.

It took less than five minutes to reach the hospital where an emergency team was waiting.

“She was taken into the resuscitation room,” said Conor. “The doctors and staff were amazing. They calmed us down and discovered she had some sort of infection.

“They were fearing at the start that it might be sepsis but the urine and blood results came back saying it was E. coli.

“They said it was a Brief Resolved Unexplained Event (BRUE). They found a urinary tract infection and think the e-coli was in a dirty nappy.

“It was crazy to think we were so close to the hospital. I don’t know what we would have done if we weren’t. I don’t want to think about the outcome if it wasn’t for Daisy Hill.”

Happily, Ada was released from hospital on Sunday evening and is on an antibiotic and in “much better form”.

In their panic, the couple didn’t even get the motorist’s name but were able to find her afterwards after a Facebook appeal by family friend, Independent councillor Gavin Malone.

“I have been in contact with her and got her a bunch of flowers because I don’t know what we would have done without her,” said Conor.

Councillor Gavin Malone and daughter Rachel, left, delivering Easter eggs to children at Daisy Hill Hospital as a thank-you

Said Cllr Malone: “This is another reminder of the crucial role Daisy Hill Hospital plays, as this child would not have made it to Craigavon.

“It if wasn’t for the quick actions of the parents and Aisling, the outcome could have been very different.”

Councillor Malone also revealed that his own daughter Rachel “owes her life to Daisy Hill” after contracting encephalitis, or swelling on the brain, in February.

“She had been vomiting and had a very high temperature and we took her to Daisy Hill,” he said.

“They took her bloods and because of their expertise, they identified there was something wrong. While she was there, she had three seizures. They started anti-virals very quickly, they saved my daughter’s life.”

Rachel was transferred to Craigavon and later The Royal Victoria in Belfast, spending a month in hospital in total.

“She is back in school now and please God, she’s going to make a full recovery,” he added.

The hospital has been the focus of a number of meetings and campaigns in recent months after emergency general surgery was halted and moved to Craigavon Area Hospital temporarily because of staff shortages, leading to fears about the future of services at Daisy Hill. A consultation is currently under way about making the emergency general surgery move permanent.

The trust has reassured the public there will be no change to the emergency department at Daisy Hill.

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