UCLH staff praised in new book 

26/06/2019 00:00 
Our fantastic staff have been praised in a new book telling the true story of health journalist Olivia Gordon who was 29-weeks pregnant when a scan revealed that her baby boy was critically ill. His lymphatic system was failing and he was given just a 50 per cent chance of survival.
 

Thanks to a risky operation in utero by some of the world’s most highly skilled doctors, he underwent life-saving surgery and survived. But the journey was not over. He was born too early, taken away at birth and placed in an incubator. Dozens of doctors and nurses fought around the clock to keep him alive. Every day brought a new infection, a new diagnosis, a new operation, a new crisis. Could he survive? After five anxious months of neonatal care … he lived.

The First Breath is Olivia’s story; it’s her son’s story; and it’s the first popular science book to tell the story of the rising fields of fetal and neonatal medicine at work in leading hospital units around the world, including our very own NHS. It’s also a memoir of unparalleled personal insight, exploring the female experience of medicine as well as the relationship mothers have with doctors who hold not only life and death but the very possibility of birth in their hands.

The First Breath shines a light on what happens when having a baby doesn't go as planned and the extraordinary ways that modern medicine responds – bringing a new generation into the world; a generation without precedent, who would not have lived if they had been born only a few decades ago thanks to extraordinary scientific advances and unprecedented medical intervention.

Olivia Gordon is a freelance journalist who writes on motherhood, medicine and disability. Educated at Cambridge University, she has written for publications including the Observer, The Times, the Telegraph, Red and Broadly.

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