Baby James

“It’s funny to use the term ‘customer service’, but really we felt like this is the best ‘customer service’ experience in the most important time of need in our life.”

Andrew and Milene were excited to bring home Baby James and begin their life as a new family. As first-time parents they were expecting some hiccups (and spit-ups) in those first days and weeks, but the challenges they faced seemed greater than even their expectations.

“James cried constantly,” said Milene, “and when I’d try to feed him it just seemed to make him cry harder.”

Confused and worried, they took James to KGH, where it didn’t take long to confirm he had a cleft palate. The small hole in the back of his mouth, his soft palate, made it impossible for him to form a latch on either a breast or bottle. James couldn’t eat.

James isn’t alone. Roughly 1 in 1000 babies are born every year with some form of cleft palate or lip, and nearly all of them require surgical intervention at some point in their young lives.

There was a time when patients would have to travel to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for this surgery. Luckily though, babies and their parents can stay closer to home and have the procedure completed by the caring doctors and nurses in the KGH Pediatric ward.

James was nine months old when he underwent his surgery, a stressful day for his parents. But they had complete confidence in the staff at KGH.

“The confidence, and the safety, and the reassurance you have in a state-of-the-art facility with the best doctors and the best equipment,” says Milene, “it’s paramount to everything in your world in that moment when your baby is ill.”

Many Pediatric procedures can be performed at KGH, sparing parents the additional stress and expense of relocating to Vancouver for their baby’s life-saving treatment.

The new, expanded Perinatal Unit will allow even more families to receive life-saving care closer to home, ensuring a future full of happy, healthy giggles.