Helping to improve long-term outcomes for very premature babies.

A Letter for Lindsay

Michael Wooldridge,
Federal Minister for Health
Parliament House, CANBERRA ACT 2600

John Twaits
State Minister for Health,
Parliament House, MELBOURNE VIC 3000

30-03-2001

Dear Sirs,

My reasons for writing this letter are quite simple. I will always be in debted to the wonderful team in the NeoNatal Intensive Care Unit of the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne for allowing my daughter to have a full chance at life.

In February 1986, Lindsay Kate Morris was born 14 weeks premature, weighing 872 grams. At the time I was in a state of shock and did not understand the full implications of our plight. However, as the years have gone by I now have a much better understanding of the peril that lay before her tiny life, and how very, very fortunate we are to have today a bright, witty and healthy 15 year old daughter who lives a full and active life.

We were asked to include Lindsay in a study of premature babies born under 1kg, conducted as the Premature Infants Follow Up Programme by Professor Lex Doyle and Kate Callanan. It was explained to us that this study gave the medical staff a better understanding of the long term outcomes of treatments and procedures performed on these babies to give them not just life, but maximum quality of life.

We were included in the study when Lindsay was 2 years, 5 years and 8 years old and were told that our services would be required again when she was a teenager. Last year I received a letter from The Premature Infants Follow Up Programme, explaining that funding was no longer available to continue the study.

Please reconsider the decision made by your government to reduce / cut funding to this program.

I understand that there are many demands on government funds, however I consider this to be an investment by the government.

Surely, by understanding the long term outcome of treatments given to these babies, the medical team is endeavouring to reduce the long term burden to society for babies and later adults, for whom things did not go as well for Lindsay.

Yours faithfully,

Anne Stowe.

To read about Abbie's story - click here