Exmouth tot cheats death

GRATEFUL parents of a baby who cheated death after being born ten weeks premature are raising money for the hospital unit that saved their daughter’s life.

Paul Bazell, head chef at The Royal Beacon Hotel in Exmouth, has produced an appetite-pleasing cake to raffle off with proceeds set to go to the antenatal unit at The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

The 38-year-old and his partner, Sacha Duddridge, 22, of Roseberry Road, thought it would be a good way to raise money after they both recently took part in a cake decoration course.

Born ten weeks early and weighing 3lb 14oz, the young girl, called Poppie, was incubated straight after birth and subject to constant scrutiny from doctors.

“I can not fault the staff at all. What they did was absolutely brilliant. She was borderline and could easily have died,” said Mr Bazell.

At just one-day-old, the baby was transferred from Exeter to the St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol where she was operated on for Duodenal atresia, a blockage of the stomach.

Poppie also suffered from pneumonia and struggled breathing by herself. She spent a total of three weeks in Bristol, two of which were in intensive care, before moving back to Exeter into a high dependency unit.

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Mr Bazell said: “There were times when I feared for the worst. She had this operation, tubes up her nose – you name it, she had everything!

“When I was looking around and you could see some other kids coming in struggling for their lives, it just made you feel how hard it is for their parents and how lucky Poppie has been.

“In the first couple of weeks it was just hell because you had machines beeping and doctors running around all over the place.

“It was like winning the lottery when she started to get better.”

On returning to Exeter, Poppie was aided by staff at the RD&E, notably, in helping her grow by getting into a routine of taking milk.

The youngster and her mum Miss Duddridge, who works as a pastry chef at The Royal Beacon Hotel, were able to go home after around six weeks.

Mr Bazell added: “I’m just ever so thankful to the care attention everybody at the unit gave, not just to Poppie, but to Sacha as well.

“I’m sure we will spoil her rotten at Christmas – our first as a family.

“It is unbelievable the transformation she has undergone and what she is like now. It’s great. I’m such a proud father!”

Mr Bazell and his partner are engaged to marry.

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