Professor who spent career caring for premature and dying babies wows National Conference
18 September 2017
Prof Wyatt: "We can't save every baby, but we can show every baby care."
Professor John Wyatt, Emeritus Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics this weekend wowed delegates at the SPUC National Conference with his insights on human life, gained from his long career of caring for premature and desperately sick babies.
The professor began by describing the "revolution" that has taken place in the care of premature babies in the last 50 years. In the unit he worked at, the survival rate of babies born at 23 weeks gestation is now approaching 50%. And they are not just surviving, but thriving; to applause, Prof Wyatt related: “I’ve just heard that one of the 23 week babies I cared for got three As at A level and is heading to university”.
He said that the youngest "preemie" he has cared for was born at 21 weeks and 6 days.
Conflicting attitudes to young babies
Perhaps his most powerful point was that whereas in his unit, thousands of pounds is being spent to keep premature babies alive, just a floor away, genetic screening for conditions like Down’s syndrome is being carried out – and about 92% of those babies diagnosed are being aborted. On one hand, he said, "we live in a culture that really believes that these tiny lives are precious" and reflected that the babies in the wombs of the women he was counselling about genetic conditions were often bigger and stronger than the premature babies he was caring for downstairs.
Care for dying babies
Delegates were moved to tears by his stories of caring for dying babies, and the care they are given. "We can't save every baby, but we can show every baby care". He also shared how the outcomes for parents who choose to give birth to a baby with a life-limiting condition and receive palliative care are better than those who abort.
Line-up of outstanding speakers
Other speakers at the conference included Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, who spoke movingly on the need to recall that humans exist in community, and to bear one another’s burdens. Delegates also heard from popular speaker on African issues, Obianuju Ekeocha, and from John-Henry Westen of the international pro-life news service LifeSiteNews.
The conference was an opportunity to celebrate 50 years of SPUC, and also to commemorate the nearly 9 million lives lost to abortion since 1967.
The theme was "We Care About Women" and SPUC staff spoke of our current campaigns to oppose the move to decriminalise abortion completely in the UK, including our mass constituency based lobby.
John Smeaton, the Chief Executive of SPUC, summed up the work of the Society, saying: "What SPUC has been endeavouring to do for 50 years is to tell the truth".
Photos and videos will be up soon!
Delegates enjoy the sun at the end of the conference.