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Routine appointment saves Dudley father-to-be with aplastic anaemia

By Dayna Farrington | Dudley | Health | Published:

A Dudley couple's routine antenatal appointment proved to be life-saving for the dad-to-be – after midwives spotted that he was seriously ill.

Sam Hutchins, who has been diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, pictured with his mother Anne Groucutt

Sam Hutchins, 24, is now being treated in isolation in Russells Hall Hospital after being diagnosed with aplastic anaemia – a rare condition in which the bone marrow stops making new blood cells.

Sam's mother, Anne Groucutt, a nurse at the hospital, says he would not be alive if the midwives, Julie Hughes and Tracey Jones, had not taken action.

They are now searching for a "life-changing" bone marrow donor.

Sam and his partner 18-year-old Paris Turner, both from Quarry Bank, are now the proud parents of a baby girl born on April 17 – but because Sam is so poorly he is unable to spend time with his little daughter.

He had to be rushed from his ward to the maternity unit when Paris went into labour and missed the birth by five minutes – although he did get to cut the umbilical cord.

Donor search

Doctors at Russells Hall are searching worldwide for a bone marrow donor for Sam, who is a chef at Hickory's Smokehouse in Wall Heath.

Anne says a transplant would be life-changing and she is is trying to raise awareness of how people can join the stem cell register.

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She said: "Sam and Paris had gone to Russells Hall Hospital for a routine antenatal appointment one evening when one of the midwives thought Sam looked ill. She asked a colleague what she thought, and they immediately told him he should get checked out.

"He had woken not feeling very well and had got worse over the day. He had had a throat infection and admitted that he had a rash on his legs and feet.

"The midwives immediately thought of sepsis and got someone to take him to ED. He ended up having a blood transfusion.

“If it hadn’t been for the midwives, Sam wouldn’t be here today. They followed their gut instincts, and I cannot thank them enough.”

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Limited sight

Sam spent a week on a drip having treatment but at the end of the course became even more ill. He suffered bleeds behind the eyes which have left him blind in one eye with severely limited sight in the other – Anne says they do not know if his vision will return.

She added: "The best treatment would be a bone marrow transplant which, if it is a good enough match, would cure him for life. It’s such a simple thing, really.

"His brother and sister aren’t matches and they are searching the worldwide register for a suitable donor. If they can’t find one, they can use me or his father, but we are not good matches and he would need top-ups throughout his life.

“At the moment we don’t know if he will recover. We don’t know if he will see his daughter grow up.”

As well as raising awareness, Anne, who is a staff nurse on surgical outpatients, is having her head shaved on Friday(26). She is raising money for breast care and the Georgina ward, where Sam is being treated.

For more information on joining the stem cell register, visit www.dkms.org.uk.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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