2023 Christmas Appeal

For every parent, life-saving medical care for their child is a priceless gift.

Last year, over 1,600 babies and children were admitted to the paediatric wards at Mercy and over 10,000 of these young patients were cared for in emergency by Mercy’s clinicians.

These numbers will only continue to increase – your support has never been more important.

On Thursday 29 December 2022, baby Luniva was born eight weeks premature – a tiny but perfect little girl.

After her birth, Luniva spent almost three weeks in Werribee Mercy Hospital’s Special Care Nursery. So, when it was time for her parents, Supriya and Biplov, to finally bring their precious little girl home, they were over the moon.

They returned home excited to begin their life as a happy and healthy family of three. But, just a few short weeks later, baby Luniva woke up with irregular breathing and pale skin.

Her parents were panicked.

Luniva was rushed by ambulance to the busy Emergency Department at Werribee Mercy Hospital.

Luniva’s mother, Supriya, a nurse at Werribee Mercy Hospital, travelled in the ambulance with her vulnerable little girl, not knowing what could possibly be wrong.

“I was so frightened and worried. I was in the ambulance alone while my husband followed behind in the car,” Supriya says.

For baby Luniva, the clock was ticking, and the first few moments of her care were critical to her survival.

At the Emergency Department, a team of dedicated Mercy paediatric doctors and nurses quickly assessed her and discovered that her oxygen levels had fallen dangerously low.

Baby Luniva needed immediate, life-saving resuscitation…

Luniva while in hospital

This involved securing Luniva’s airway by placing a tube down her tiny throat. Meanwhile, vital medications were administered into her small, fragile body.

“By that stage, I was in tears and one of the Mercy team came to see me to reassure me that the doctors and nurses were doing their best, but it was so scary,” Supriya says.

Luniva’s condition was critical and urgent, and a neonatal Code Blue was called, bringing every available, highly skilled nurse to provide additional support.

Dr Sarah Sattar, Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist

Time was running out … but Luniva had an incredible team of Mercy staff dedicated to keeping her breathing and alive, including Dr Sarah Sattar, Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist.

“It was my first major resuscitation at Werribee Mercy and I was so proud of the team that day. Everything was done in the best interest of Luniva and we did it as quickly as possible.We knew she was extremely unwell and that she was going to require tertiary level support,” Dr Sattar says.

“In a short space of time, we were able to stabilise her, identify that there was something wrong with her abdomen and contact the PIPER (Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval) team for a hospital transfer.”

Luniva’s bowel had twisted, requiring an urgent transfer to another specialist hospital where surgery was performed to untwist and secure her bowel.

Throughout this horrifying experience, Supriya and Biplov were constantly kept informed by Mercy staff. This care and kindness kept them grounded during the worst moments of shock and worry.

Supriya and Biplov were overwhelmed with emotion to learn that the doctors and nurses managed to save all of Luniva’s bowel. The Mercy team who stabilised Luniva were also thrilled to hear the news.

Thankfully, Luniva recovered well from her surgery.

Within a week Luniva was safely home … back to her happy self … with colour in her cheeks and a radiant smile.

If it wasn’t for the rapid action, expert knowledge and skill provided by the team at Mercy, Luniva’s life, and that of her parents, may have been very different. It is unbearable to contemplate.

Thankfully, Luniva is now thriving. She loves cuddles from her parents, going for strolls in her pram, eating all her food, and standing up as tall as she can – securely supported by her loving parents.

Supriya and Biplov will be forever grateful for the quick action and care of Mercy’s paediatric team.

That was our lucky day. We are so grateful to the incredible team of doctors and nurses at Mercy who saved Luniva’s life, Supriya says.

Life for Supriya, Biplov and Luniva now is all about keeping well and enjoying every moment as a young, healthy and happy family.

“More than anything, I just want to spend as much time with Luniva as I can, and just make sure she’s getting all of the care she needs. Her health is my number one priority,” Supriya says.

This Christmas will be Luniva’s first – an exciting milestone her parents are looking forward to.

Luniva now, happy and at home with her family

Your donation to Mercy Health Foundation will fund the most urgent priorities in paediatric care. It will mean so much to the doctors and nurses who dedicate their lives to making sure that all children in their care return safely home to their families.

I know that times are tough for many of us. Yet, it has never been a more important time to support public health and bring joy to sick and injured kids, so they can spend Christmas at home with their families, just like Luniva will.

Thank you so much for being a part of our community! With the support of people like you, we can make Christmas wishes of better health for sick and injured kids come true.

Please donate now.

Last reviewed November 8, 2023.