Singer Martha Wainwright thanks NHS for saving premature baby

Paula Fentiman,Press Association
Tuesday 29 December 2009 15:49

Singer Martha Wainwright thanked NHS medics today for saving her premature baby's life.

The Canadian musician's son Arcangelo was born nine weeks early on November 16, hours after she performed a gig in London.

Wainwright said she and husband Brad Albetta would always have a link with the capital through their son and praised neonatal staff at University College Hospital.

"Brad and I want to thank the doctors and nursing staff at the hospital from the bottom of our hearts," she said.

"We had a special arrival who will always be connected to this city and to this country and we are incredibly grateful for the treatment that we received.

"We will never forget this time and it will always be a story we will tell people for the rest of our lives."

The singer had been planning a home birth in the US when her waters broke when she was seven months pregnant and she was rushed to hospital.

Arcangelo was born by emergency Caesarean, weighing just 3lb 5oz, and was in an incubator until December 8.

But Wainwright, 33, said that thanks to the care and expertise of staff at the unit, her first child was now thriving.

She said: "The doctors and nurses at the hospital certainly saved Arcangelo's life.

"I was supposed to be on a plane the next morning and Brad was supposed to be on a plane going to a different place.

"We were lucky I went into labour when I did because otherwise he would not have survived.

"It's thanks to the expertise of people at this hospital that he has thrived."

She said staff helped her and Albetta deal with the needs of a premature baby.

"Because he was premature he is more sensitive to sights and sounds and everything needs to be done at a much slower pace," she said.

"The sensitivity to the baby's needs has been obvious.

"Whether it's how to change the diaper, how to dress him, how to hold him and eventually how to breast feed, all of this would have been a scary experience but having the support of experts here has been invaluable."

The new parents said they had met "inspirational" people on the "remarkable" unit and praised the NHS, saying: "People living under a public health system will have a tendency to complain about it.

"But when you are in it and you really need it, that system comes through for you.

"There's a deep understanding here that the first priority is the patient and that is obvious in the quality of care we have received."

As a thank you for Arcangelo's care, Wainwright invited 14 members of staff, and some parents, to her recent gig at the Royal Albert Hall.

A Wainwright Family Christmas included performances by her brother Rufus and mother Kate McGarrigle.

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