Baby born size of mum's hand fronts £2m hospital appeal

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Image source, Birmingham Children's Hospital
Image caption,
Arlo Watson was born at 25 weeks

A baby who was the size of his mother's hand when he was born is the face of a £2m charity appeal launched for critical care ambulances.

Arlo Watson, from Broseley, Shropshire, was born at 25 weeks weighing 1.6lb.

His mother Laura said Arlo "wouldn't be here" were it not for the care of paramedics and doctors.

Image caption,
Arlo was the size of his mother's hand when he was born

The appeal will raise money to kit out four critical care ambulances with the latest life-saving medical equipment for the Kids Intensive Care and Decision Support (KIDS) Service and Neonatal Transfer Service (NTS), hosted at the hospital.

The service moves over 2,000 seriously ill babies and children from one hospital to another in the West Midlands each year.

Image source, Birmingham Children's Hospital
Image caption,
Arlo has been transferred eight times by the team since he was born

Arlo was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease that affects the intestine of premature babies, Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity said.

It said an X-ray revealed his small bowel had perforated and he had abdominal surgery and eye surgery.

Since his birth, Arlo has been transferred eight times by the team. He spent 200 days in hospital and returned home fully five weeks ago.

His mother Laura said: "Arlo's situation has at times been critical and has involved multiple transfers from one hospital to another in the West Midlands.

Image source, Birmingham Children's Hospital
Image caption,
Arlo and his parents Laura and Sammy helped launch the appeal with Dr Alex Philpott

"I cannot put into words what they mean to us, but we will be grateful to them for the rest of our lives."

She while Arlo continues to receive oxygen, he is "doing great" and it is hoped he will be off the oxygen shortly after Christmas.

Kitting out the fleet will remove the need to share equipment between ambulances, with the service able to respond to simultaneous demands and increase response time, the hospital said.

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