Wigan charity ball to help paramedics sensitively treat cot death cases

Sarah Elliott is holding a fund-raiser in October for Sands, a stillbirth and neo-natal death charity.
Sarah Elliott is holding a fund-raiser in October for Sands, a stillbirth and neo-natal death charity.

Paramedics could receive extra help to deal sensitively with grieving families who have suffered cot deaths or other neo-natal tragedies.


Plans are at a very early stage of being drawn up after an emergency responder from the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) attended a charity ball organised by Sarah Elliott from Standish Lower Ground.

The event at Macdonald Kilhey Court was raising funds for stillbirth and neo-natal death charity Sands after Sarah and her husband Jamie lost their twin son Theo during pregnancy.

The paramedic was so deeply moved by what he heard on the night that he decided he wanted Sands to help blue-light services provide more appropriate and sensitive care for panicking parents who have rung ambulances because their children are not breathing.

And NWAS says there is a possibility Sands representatives could be invited to speak to those arriving at health emergencies as part of a training day.

Sarah, who says one of the aims of her charity campaign is to make stillbirth something talked about more openly, expressed her delight that her efforts could lead to such an important development.

She said: “He approached me and told me he had been the first person on the scene in a number of cot death situations.

“He said they hadn’t really had any bereavement training to deal with parents who are reporting this. We played a video on the night and he was quite emotional watching it.

“I’ve now put him and Sands in touch with each other and hopefully they are arranging a training day for him and his colleagues.

“This is something I’ve never even thought about. Raising money for charity is amazing but if something like this comes off the back of the event we’ve done that would be fantastic.

“Once you’ve heard a parent make that call to the ambulance service you can never get it out of your head. It’s something that can be extremely difficult to cope with.

“It’s hard to know how to comfort a parent in that situation so if we can get that training so they can handle it that would be amazing. It’s great this is being talked about too.”

NWAS said talks were under way after the employee told his senior paramedic about the ball, but stressed it may take a bit of time to set something up.

A spokesperson for the ambulance service said: “We pride ourselves on care and compassion and are always interested in developing the skills of our staff in ways that will further benefit our patients.

“We are currently exploring opportunities of working with Sands as part of a development event in the future.”