By Ryan Harrison
THE PARENTS of a miracle baby born in Palma's Son Dureta hospital last year have returned to thank staff for their “top notch” job.
Sheila and Mark Stewart revisited Son Dureta hospital yesterday with baby Alexander, who was born 2 months premature, and said without the help of the medical workers their child would not be here today. Mark, 36, said: “They were absolutely brilliant. We can't thank them enough. We're now very pro-Spanish.” On a week's holiday at the time of the emergency, the couple were worried about the standard of healthcare in Spain, but found it to be top class. “Sometimes people back home say that medical care stops south of the Pyrenees. But this is definitely not the case here,” Mark said yesterday.
It was on the 6th day of their holiday that Sheila was rushed to the Manacor hospital, but doctors soon realised that the situation was very serious so an ambulance took her to Son Dureta. In an incubator, baby Alexander, born weighing only 2lbs 12ozs, over the following three weeks contracted jaundice, septicemia, chronic lung disease and suffered a brain haemorrhage.

After all this, and when he was stabilized, Alexander was flown by jet back to Biggen Hill in London, where an ambulance rushed him to St. George's hospital. Sheila said: “While Alexander was in the incubator it was awful, because you have no control over what's happening.” The couple, who live in Wimbledon, were staying at the Cala Mondrago complex at the time of the emergency. Yesterday they gave a special thanks to the Thomson Holiday reps who helped them through the ordeal. Sue Palmer and Elaine Brannan, Client welfare representatives for Thomson, were with the couple every step of the way and were still amazed how their child survived.

Sue, who has been with Thomson Holidays for seven years, said: “He's a real miracle. Its unbelievable that this child has had all these problems and is still healthy. ”This hospital is brilliant. If you have a real emergency, there's only one place to go, here,” she added. Mark said that compared to the hospitals in the UK, Son Dureta was better equipped. ”The commitment from the staff is the same here, but the resources available to staff back home is what lets them down,” he said. The care did not stop at Palma though, as a Luxemburg-based charity jetted Alexander, still incubator-bound, to London. All costs were covered by Thomson insurance, which Mark said was vital. “Our E111 form covered everything, including hotels and transport. It was invaluable,” he said yesterday. Their story highlights the importance of taking out holiday insurance, as many British holiday-makers simply forget. Alexander is registered in Palma, but has a British passport. Mark said: “I like the idea of having a baby that can be Spanish or British. Returning yesterday for the first time since the incident, the couple brought information leaflets from the BLISS charity, which specialises in premature babies.

Sheila hopes that other British couples that go through the same experience as them will find the pamphlets useful. Three floors up while Alexander's parents were thanking staff, another success story was taking place at the hospital. Alfie, who is two years old in August, and his parents Grant and Nikki Wright were on their annual holiday in Ibiza at the start of July this year.

Alfie fell ill very quickly and the couple realised it was serious, and after a short stay at a hospital in Ibiza was flown over to Palma.
He suffered a dangerous bout of septicemia and meningitis and was on a life support machine when he arrived at Son Dureta. The couple were very impressed by the service they received when they arrived here. Grant said: “You get the impression that in the UK they wouldn't have been so responsive as they were over here.”


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