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Pictured: Professor Nicholas Embleton who led the Butterfly Project with colleagues at Newcastle's Neonatology Unit

Neonatology team has been shortlisted for a national award


The Butterfly Project, an invaluable initiative developed by the neonatology team at Newcastle’s RVI to help support bereaved parents of multiple births who still have a baby on the neonatal unit, has been shortlisted for a national award.

One aspect of the project is to place a card of a butterfly with the name of the child who has died in the cot to remind staff that the surviving baby had a sibling.

Since this practice began in 2015, the Butterfly cot cards have been made freely available to around 300 hospitals worldwide and as far afield as South America.

In addition, a range of resources for healthcare professionals has been developed including guidelines, leaflets and, perhaps more importantly, a video sharing the stories of parents, all of which are available on a dedicated website:

The website, which was supported by local charity Tiny Lives dedicated to raising funds for the RVI’s neonatal unit, also provides advice and other essential information for parents.

Professor Nick Embleton, consultant neonatologist who led the initiative was nominated for the “Health Professional” category of the Butterfly Awards – the UK’s first ever awards ceremony with baby loss as its focal point. The Awards honour parents who have experienced the death of a baby, as well as celebrating the work done by the people and organisations to support them.

Professor Embleton says: “I am humbled to be nominated. I became a neonatologist because I enjoyed the technical and scientific aspects of practicing medicine with small and fragile newborn babies.

“I will admit that no one is more surprised than I am, to have arrived where I find myself now – trying to help other doctors and nurses better understand the feelings of parents whose babies died.

“I am immensely proud of our neonatal “Butterfly Project” and indebted to all the researchers and staff who helped me – I am only nominated because of those teams.

“I see this nomination not for me, but for the parents of those babies, and especially those who felt able to give their time and emotional energy to help others better understand what it feels like. The Butterfly awards are for them.”

Find out more here.

Vote for the Butterfly project
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