Bella Torkington wasn’t expected to survive when she was born at 25 weeks on a bathroom floor, but some plastic wrap and a sandwich bag helped her defy the odds. Baby Bella is now a picture of health, squawking and sucking her fingers and toes as she sits on mother Rachael Sibley, while dad Kyle Torkington tickles her knee. 

While the birth was happening, St John paramedics Steve Pudney and Olivia Burns sped towards the house in an ambulance and prepared their response. “We had discussed a plan on the way out about how we were going to resuscitate her and ventilation rations and CPR ratios for someone that small,” Pudney said.

The smaller size involved with premature babies provided issues in care. . . 

She held a child-sized oxygen mask – big enough to cover the infant’s entire head – in place while Pudney monitored Bella’s heart with a stethoscope. 

“We had to figure out how fast her heart was going . . . it can get quite complicated whether we add oxygen or not because too much oxygen is quite detrimental to a child that small,” Pudney said. 

He cut the umbilical cord and kept Bella warm with plastic wrap and a zip lock bag from her parent’s kitchen.

He kept her head warm by cutting the toe off one of Torkington’s socks to use as a miniature beanie. The paramedics cranked up the heating in the ambulance for the tense ride to Christchurch Women’s Hospital. Staff there were waiting with an incubator and rushed Bella to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) as soon as she arrived.

Read more details of this incredible story in the full article from here


Well done to the wonderful St John staff!