Premature baby unit benefits from Wood dynasty donation

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Media captionThe son and daughter-in-law of Sir Ian Wood donate £250,000 to Wishaw General Hospital and say they want to save other parents heartache

The son and daughter-in-law of the oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood have donated £250,000 towards medical equipment at Wishaw General Hospital.

Garreth Wood and his wife, former Miss Scotland Nicola Wood, made the offer after losing triplets, born prematurely at the hospital in 2013.

They hope the equipment will help save the lives of other premature babies.

Last week Sir Ian Wood announced he was donating £10m for a new car park at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Garreth Wood, who is the managing director of a pub and restaurant chain, and his wife Nicola, said they were making the donation to try to "prevent other families going through the same heartache we did".

"We'd been directly affected by infection through losing our children," said Mr Wood.

"We just felt that this machine would be such a huge benefit to the hospital in being able to detect infection in newborns much earlier."

The Heart Rate Observation, or "HeRO", system works out the probability of a baby having an infection from variations in its heartbeat.

It provides early warning of infection, which is a leading cause of death in vulnerable babies.

Consultant neonatologist and Wishaw hospital's clinical director Dr Samuel Ibhanesebhor said: "Infection is known to be one of the main killers of premature babies in neonatal units all over the world.

"Although we have various mechanisms to prevent infections, we like to pick it up before the clinician is aware that the baby is infected and therefore intervene in a prompt way."

The couple's triplets were born at 24 weeks gestation. They named them Asha, Oren and Willow, but they survived for just two weeks.

"A couple of our girls had infections," said Mrs Wood.

"That's not to say that if these machines had been in place they would have survived. It's an uphill struggle for all these babies but to give them a fighting chance, another us that was really important.

"We wanted to do something in their memory."

NHS Lanarkshire contributed the remaining £400,000 cost of installing and operating the HeRO system.

It will monitor all 28 cots in Wishaw General Hospital's neonatal unit. Independent research suggests that the system can reduce death rates in premature babies by 20%.

The Woods are no strangers to Wishaw's premature baby unit.

Their first daughter, Ezra, was cared for at the hospital after being born prematurely at 32 weeks in 2010.

Since her birth, the couple have donated £35,000 to fund extra training for staff and £5,000 to buy specialist breathing equipment to help babies with breathing problems.

The couple brought Ezra with them to see the new machines in action.

"We tried to make it simple to describe to her what the machines do," said Mrs Wood.

"She turned round to me and said 'So they're machines to make sure babies don't go to heaven, Mummy?' and I said 'Yes that's it, they're machines to make sure babies don't go to Heaven.'"

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