Helping Sunderland mums cope with the trauma of stillbirth

Carol Knight and Kirsty McGurrell from the 4Louis charity, which helps bereaved parents, present items to maternity ward Matron Jacqui Dyson...
Carol Knight and Kirsty McGurrell from the 4Louis charity, which helps bereaved parents, present items to maternity ward Matron Jacqui Dyson...
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A CHARITY which offers support in the most traumatic of times is helping to improve Sunderland Royal Hospital’s maternity unit.

Kirsty McGurrell, 23, set up 4Louis after her first child Louis was stillborn and has since improved the way stillbirths are dealt with by hospitals across the country.

Now she has opened a bereavement suite at the hospital to try and support mums who have to go to the unit to give birth to stillborn babies.

Kirsty, who lives with partner Michael Knight in Houghton, has already won praise from the hospital for her keepsake boxes which allow parents affected by stillbirth to take home a permanent reminder of their child, such as a clay impression of their hands and feet.

Kirsty said: “The hospital has given us a room to make into a bereavement suite. We’ve been in to kit it out with cushions, a CD player, tea and coffee to make it a home from home.

“I don’t think people realise that mums whose babies have died still have to give birth to them on the maternity ward.

“It’s really upsetting because there are posters about breastfeeding up and you can hear newborn babies crying, but you are going home without your child.

“We hope this will make it easier. I’d seen them in other hospitals and they are beautiful. You wouldn’t think you were in a hospital. I thought Sunderland needed something like this.”

The room being used is one of the regular delivery suites, but when the hospital knows a stillbirth mum is coming on to the ward it will be kitted out with the 4Louis items.

A spokesman from Sunderland Royal Hospital said: “We are delighted with the generosity and hard work of Kirsty and 4Louis. It is a fine testament to Louis that we are now able to ensure that parents like Kirsty, who go through the tragedy of bereavement, are helped to come to terms with their loss with the right hospital environment and homely surroundings.”

The 4Louis keepsake boxes are in place in 16 hospitals and Kirsty is a proud mum to Louis’ little brother, Mitchell, eight months.

l 4Louis is in the running for a share of a £10,000 charity donation from Benfield Motors.

Vote for them by following the link on the “4louis” Facebook page.

Twitter: @sunechokaty