The Evelina saved my son, people should know of it
In April 2010, Michael and Laura Cockerham took their happy, healthy newborn son Phineas home to settle him into their family. Three weeks later Phineas was in the paediatric intensive care unit at the Evelina Children’s Hospital, fighting for his life.
Laura noticed her son wasn’t well one night when he got a sudden temperature and became lethargic, so rushed him to her local hospital. Staff on duty there said Phineas had a virus and sent them home, but after a few hours of his condition getting worse Laura went in search of a second opinion. Just 24 hours after being admitted, doctors decided Phineas’ condition required specialist care and transferred him to to the Evelina.
The next 36 hours saw the Evelina’s expert team battle to keep Phineas going, and to pin down exactly which virus was threatening his life. His condition was so serious that doctors were unsure whether he would recover, and they had concerns that his low blood sugar and oxygen levels may have caused him brain damage.
But with support from the whole team, doctors were able to stabilise Phineas, and after yet more tests and scans they established that he had suffered an uncommonly serious reaction to the Parechovirus, which is non-life threatening in adults but can be very serious in newborns, whose immune systems are still developing.
Michael, a photographer, was so moved by the care Phineas received at the Evelina that he embarked on a project to raise the hospital’s status, and make people aware of the incredible support they provide. He has published a book – Phineas’ Friends – which documents the huge number of diverse characters who help to save a life in a situation such as theirs.
Phineas’ Friends is a beautiful and moving documentation of one family’s experience in the Evelina, but Michael created it for a reason. “My motivation from the outset has been to help publicise the work of the Evelina and perhaps raise its profile just a bit.” All the profit from sales of the book, whether as an iBook, paperback or signed hardback, will go towards the Evelina, helping to fund specialist equipment and treatments which will save many more young lives.
together we can... know that we’re helping
See some of the photographs from Phineas' Friends
Aziza Makki - Senior sonographer
David Booth - Medical technical officer
Dr Seema Haider - Trainee GP
Sean Hayes - Retrieval technician
All photographs © Michael Cockerham, used with kind permission.