Cancer-hit mother appeals over breast-milk ruling
By Charlotte McCathie, Press Association
Thursday, 10 December 2009
A new mother who cannot breastfeed because she is fighting cancer has been told she will no longer be provided with donor milk.
Dawn Hockey, 28, from Glossop, Derbyshire, was diagnosed with the illness in June, when she was three months pregnant with her baby son Alex.
The ex-veterinary nurse tried to use formula milk with Alex, who was born seven weeks prematurely on November 1, but it made him sick.
Tameside Primary Care Trust agreed to send her batches of pasteurised breast milk.
But bosses have decided to withdraw the funding, saying he no longer needs it.
The mother-of-two, who lives with her husband Michael, 15-month-old son William and baby Alex, has launched an appeal against the decision.
She said: "Alex was premature and was exposed to two doses of chemotherapy in the womb.
"We don't know what damage this has done to him, and there are things in breast milk that strengthen your immune system that are not in formula milk.
"Since he began on breast milk he has really been thriving and we just don't want it to be taken away."
Mrs Hockey, who had to have a mastectomy while pregnant, was advised to terminate the baby by doctors who feared it would interfere with her treatment, but she refused.
She said it was "heartbreaking" that she could not breastfeed until she has finished her chemotherapy in March.
"We are only asking for a few months' worth of milk.
"I have no idea where I am getting the energy from to fight this, I think it is just adrenaline keeping me going, and I will collapse in a heap when it is finished."
Mrs Hockey urged women to keep donating the milk, which she said had been a lifeline to baby Alex.
Tameside PCT has agreed to keep funding the donor milk until the result of the appeal, a spokesman said.
The decision was based on advice from a paediatrician at Stepping Hill Hospital, in Stockport, where Alex was born, and they are seeking a second opinion, he added.
"We continue to provide this milk whilst we await the clinical information requested, and will continue to provide the milk if advised this is in the best interests of the child," he said.