COVID-19 survivor names baby after hospital that made his life possible

Thursday 27 October 2022

Claire Bromley is on the left, son Elliott in the middle and husband Sam on the right. They have their heads together and are smiling.

Claire Bromley named her son after St Thomas' hospital

A mother who nearly lost her baby after contracting COVID-19 while pregnant has praised the hospital she named him after as he celebrated his first birthday.

Claire Bromley, 34, from Sittingbourne in Kent, named her son Elliott Samuel Thomas Bromley in honour of St Thomas’ Hospital.

In July 2021 Claire tested positive for COVID-19 when she was 26 weeks pregnant and was admitted to her local hospital with difficulty breathing.

Her condition worsened and she was placed on a ventilator and put in a medically induced coma.

When her condition didn’t improve, Claire was transferred to the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital for specialist treatment.

Claire spent 11 days in a coma before being woken up at St Thomas’. There were many physical and mental challenges to overcome upon returning home but Claire’s pregnancy continued to full term and Elliott was delivered by an elective caesarean section at 39 weeks last October.

Claire said: “I will be forever grateful to everyone involved in my care. I feared I was going to lose my life and my baby.

“At one stage doctors were very concerned that they were going to have to deliver Elliott early, many weeks before my due date. But thanks to the brilliant care I received, I survived and Elliott was delivered at full term and is doing well. They saved my life and my baby.

“My memory is a bit hazy of my time at St Thomas’ Hospital, but the nurses were all really lovely and kind. They were incredibly patient with me when I came off the ventilator and I was unable to move or talk. They even held up a sheet of paper with letters on so I could spell out the questions running through my head.

“The nurses were also amazing to my husband Sam and helped him stay calm during what was a really scary time for both of us. They kept him updated on how I was doing and FaceTimed him when he wasn’t allowed to visit in person so he could talk to me, even when I wasn’t responsive.”

Elliott celebrated his first birthday on 12 October with a party with his family and friends.

Claire said: “I can’t believe Elliott is one after all we have been through. I feel so lucky to have him. He is such a lovely, lively little boy. You would never know he had such a difficult start in life. He doesn’t get upset easily, unless he is very tired or hungry.

“We wanted to throw a big party for his first birthday after everything that happened last year, to celebrate reaching this amazing milestone and acknowledging everything we went through. We had a wild animal themed party with all his family and friends who love him very much.”

Following her own experiences, Claire, who was unvaccinated at the time, is encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

She said: “I don’t want anyone to go through what we went through. I hope that by sharing my story and my experiences, I can help pregnant women understand the risks of not having the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage them to make an informed decision.”

Katie Susser, critical care recovery nurse lead at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “Claire became extremely unwell with COVID-19, and was transferred to St Thomas’ Hospital for specialist input to support her breathing. She responded well to treatment and since then has made an incredible recovery.

“It is wonderful to see her and Elliott thriving, and we are so pleased that Claire and her husband are able to celebrate his first birthday together. We hope that she goes from strength to strength, and send big birthday wishes to Elliott from everyone here on ICU.”

To book a COVID-19 vaccination, go to the NHS national booking system.

Last updated: October 2022

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