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Parents in TV plea for whooping cough vaccinations
THE parents of a baby who died from whooping cough will tell their harrowing story on national TV this evening.
David and Dawn Benson’s five-week old daughter, Eliza-Mae died in December – one of an increased number of confirmed cases in young babies in Yorkshire and The Humber during 2011.
The couple, from Sutton-on-the-Forest, near York, agreed to be filmed for ITV’s Tonight documentary programme in a bid to encourage other parents to vaccinate their children.
They have previously urged other parents through The Press to get their babies vaccinated against the disease at the earliest opportunity, when they are eight weeks old, and have advised parents to ensure their pre-school children have a booster jab to help protect babies by building “herd immunity”.
Dawn will tell on the programme how, as Eliza-Mae’s condition deteriorated, she had a massive coughing fit, vomited everywhere and then just could not get her breath.
“You could tell she was trying to get her breath and her eyes were wide open as if... And she was looking at me as if to say: ‘I can’t breathe’,” she says.
“Doctors put her on a ventilator to help control her breathing. They struggled to get the tube in her to ventilate her because there was so much mucus in her throat and her lungs.
“I was almost relieved, because we’d been watching her struggle for hours trying to breathe and it was just horrific, absolutely horrific.” She says the consultant had later prepared them for the worst. “I just knew I thought she isn’t going to make it,” she says.
“And then we sat by her bed all day on the Saturday and they fought and fought and fought and tried everything but they couldn’t save her, and at quarter past six we were in the room with her and... I said: ‘It’s time isn’t it?’ and they said: ‘Yes’.”
She says the ventilator was disconnected so they could hold Eliza-Mae in their arms. “She died in our arms very peacefully.”
The couple say they cannot believe some parents do not want to vaccinate their children against such a killer illness.
• Tonight: Are Your Kids Contagious? starts at 7.30pm on ITV.