Mum Valentina Dapile was thirty nine weeks pregnant and preparing to welcome her baby boy into the world, when a week before she was due to give birth she collapsed and stopped breathing back in 2016.
After a 999 call and being resuscitated by husband Luigi, Valentina was rushed to the hospital where she gave birth to baby Angelo Ray in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich. Then came the devastating news they were not prepared for, baby Angelo Ray will not survive. They both made the conscious decision that their son will live on through organ donation.
Baby Angelo Ray was transferred to the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at Kings College Hospital and survived for 8 days after he was born. He was surrounded by his loving parents and older brother 6 year old Leone, who was looking forward to welcoming his younger brother home. He died in his mother’s arms an hour after taken off life support.
Amy Overend a nurse working in the NICU at Kings College was with Valentina and Luigi when it was suggested they would consider donating baby Angelo’s organs. She had never heard it suggested in her 5 years working there and it would be a first for Kings. Amy quote “Adults in intensive care might anticipate a conversation about organ donation because there is so much publicity around it, but it is a really difficult thing to broach with the parent of a newborn baby,”.
The NICU began talks with the hospital’s organ donation team who was unsure of the possibility after-all it was never done before; not to mention removing such small organs for a transplant poses a challenge.
Blood tests were ran on Angelo to check if he was a viable donor which concluded successfully and fulfilled his family wishes. He could live on in someone else.
This week the Daprile family was informed one of Angelo’s heart valve was successfully transplanted to a newborn baby born with a congenital heart defect. They now know for sure their son lives on and for them it is an amazing legacy.
Original content BBC stories Kirstie Brewer