SLOW ROAD HOME: Gympie mum Bridgette Proctor and her prematurely born daughter Winona.
SLOW ROAD HOME: Gympie mum Bridgette Proctor and her prematurely born daughter Winona. Contributed

Good news for the Gympie family of tiny little Winona

THERE is no place like home, but even close to home would be an improvement for Gympie mum Bridgette Proctor and her 11 weeks premature baby girl Winona.

It is not that the mum and baby have any complaints about the wonderful accommodation service provided for families with children in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

And she has no complaints about the treatment she and Winona have received there.

But Bridgette said it would be good to be able to see her other children as well.

Fortunately, after contacting The Gympie Times last week, Bridgett's wish now seems about to come true.

What she had thought would be a routine enough matter, a transfer for both of them back to Sunshine Coast University Hospital seemed to run into a chain of administrative barriers.

But as of today, the waiting will soon be over.

And that will be good news for the whole family.

It all began, Bridgette said, with news that there was no room for them at SCUH and that a transfer would be needed to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, which had room and could also provide the care Winona needed.

Tiny Winona was born weighing only 1035g and needed help breathing for her first four days.

Then she surprised everyone by being able to breathe on her own.

But the battle to get back closer to home has been a long one for the Gympie family.

And much as Ronald McDonald House is a godsend for parents needing to stay in Brisbane near their ill or injured children, it is no place like home.

It is not even close.

It was May 8 when Bridgette attended an appointment at SCUH, "as part of my ongoing care for my high-risk pregnancy.

"I was told Winona would need to be born very soon, before there was any further risk, as she was still healthy, but problems were arising.

"I was then told that although they were technically capable of caring for her, they didn't have the room for us to stay there.

"So after making sure my two younger children could stay with their father for a while and trying to get things set up for my 17-year-old to be at home to take care of the house and pets, Winona's dad and I got to RBWH late that night. Winona was born the following day.

"After a week we were moved out of the intensive care unit to the special care nursery. After special care, the next step was (supposed to be) a back transfer (to SCUH)."

Staff at the RBWH had been trying for 20 days to get the tiny patient transferred, when the good news came through.

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service clinical director Marc Miller said the transfer would occur today.

Dr Miller said the family had yet to provide SCUH with necessary legal consent to discuss Winona's medical condition or care.

"However, I can advise this patient is being transferred back to SCUH.

"We understand that having your baby admitted to a neonatal unit may be a very overwhelming time for families. The neonatal unit provides excellent care for unwell, low birth weight and/or premature babies and babies born with congenital conditions compromising their health."

A return to SCUH and then home is still a normal part of that, Dr Miller said.