Tears of joy for virtual success

Clare Cassidy and her daughter Lydia
Clare Cassidy and her daughter Lydia

A Wigan mum has spoken of the “unbelievable feeling” as her innovative idea has helped guide a young family through a potentially traumatic ordeal.

Clare Cassidy, from Orrell, and her daughter Lydia are the inspiration behind Alder Hey Children’s Hospital’s virtual visiting system (VV) that is currently being trialled.

The ingenious concept allows new parents to keep a digital link with their babies who have to be kept in isolation for medical reasons.

Alder Hey, in Liverpool, recently released an image of new mum Michelle who had given birth to twins Amy and Sophie at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

Amy required treatment at Alder Hey but her parents kept in touch with her via the secure link to her incubator while Michelle recovered from her C-section.

The mum said: “It was incredible being able to see Amy from my bed. The virtual visiting system brought us together as a family even through we were separated and in different hospitals.”

Reacting to Alder Hey’s release, Clare said: “Words cannot describe how emotional I feel about this.

“I got a text message a few weeks ago from someone at Alter Hey telling me something wonderful was happening and I started crying immediately knowing this was going live and a mother was able to see her baby from another hospital. This technology will benefit so many mothers in so many ways.

“Being involved in the design and development of this from start to finish from an idea is an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment.”

Clare, who is an IT manager and mum-of-three, came up with the VV concept when Lydia was being treated at Alder Hey. She was born with Gastroschisis, a condition where her digestive system organs protruded through the abdominal wall.

The brave youngster required numerous surgical procedures spending the majority of her first nine months in hospital.

This led Clare to come up with the idea to “put her mind at rest” when Lydia was in hospital.