Young woman reunited with doctor and nurse who saved her life as premature baby

Watch: ITV Meridian's Kit Bradshaw reports on Lorraine Che's emotional reunion

An 18-year-old woman, from Kent, has been reunited with the consultant and senior nurse who helped save her life, when she was born extremely prematurely.

Lorraine Che returned to the Medway Maritime Hospital on Friday (17 November) to visit the Oliver Fisher Neonatal Unit, where she was born at 26 weeks in 2005.

Medics told her mother that her first child had only a one in five chance of survival. Lorraine weighed just 850 grams (1lb 13oz) and had to be transferred to King’s College Hospital for open bowel surgery.

Lorraine said: “I’m just really thankful... Seeing the [baby] photos that my mum has given me, it just feels so surreal that I was there.”

Lorraine Che was cared for on the Oliver Fisher Neonatal Unit for 11 weeks after she was born prematurely in 2005. Credit: Family photo

Jenny Teke, Lorraine’s mother, said: “I feel a mix of emotions, to be honest. I am so happy to see the staff who looked after Lorraine – so grateful.

“I also want to inspire those other mums... There’s always that light at the end of the tunnel, just hold onto it. Hold onto that hope, because that’s what I held onto.”

Lorraine and Jenny were invited back to the unit at the Gillingham-based hospital, to be reunited with consultant neonatologist, Dr Aung Soe, and advanced neonatal nurse practitioner, Alison Youdale.

Alison told ITV News Meridian: “She’s changed a bit since then but I remember mum and I remember Lorraine… it’s really lovely to see her today and see how well she’s doing.”

Medway Maritime Hospital's clock tower was illuminated in purple to mark World Prematurity Day. Credit: Medway NHS Foundation Trust

Some 400 premature babies from across West Kent were treated on the neonatal intensive care unit in 2022. To mark World Prematurity Day, 17 babies were invited to a special graduation ceremony, along with their family members.

Helen Page, whose twin daughters required months of round-the-clock care, said: “It was traumatising, I didn’t know if they were going to see their first birthday but they’re here and they’re so happy.”

Lorraine, who is severely deaf in her left ear and uses hearing aids, had this message for others who were born prematurely: “Don’t let anything, like disability or how you were born, don’t let it stop you, don’t let it bring you down, just keep on going, just keep on being happy.”