VIDEO: Parents of three-month premature baby praise hospital
The family of a child born three months premature weighing little more than half a bag of sugar has returned to the neonatal unit that helped see him through his darkest times.
Hugh Hunter arrived three months before his due date, on the last day of his parents' holiday in Lanzarote in 2012.
He weighed just 1lb 7oz, approximately 660g, a sixth the weight of his brother Ted, when he was born.
He spent the first year of his life in-and-out of intensive care units, first in Spain and then the UK, eventually making it to the neonatal unit at St George's in Tooting.
Nineteen-month old Hugh spent 10 months there and survived several life-threatening health scares, at one time developing necrotising enterocollitis, a condition that kills many premature babies.
Thanks to the aid of doctors, nurses and First Touch, a charity supporting sick and premature babies, Hugh is now able to live at home in Wimbledon Park, supported by a ventilator.
His father, Ian Hunter, said: "As he grows, he will get stronger and won't need it any more. The alternative is that he lives in hospital."
Mr Hunter, a city lawyer, said: "Hugh was in St George's for ten months so we know all the staff here. There is a real bond and mutual respect because he was very sick for a long time."
On Monday MP for Wimbledon Stephen Hammond also visited the hospital following an awareness-raising event by First Touch at the House of Commons to mark World Prematurity Day last November.
Mr Hunter said: "The units at St George's are always very stretched because they take babies from as far away as Dorset.
"First Touch is a great, small charity that have given us a huge amount of support."
Consultant neonatologist, Laura De Rooy, said: "Hugh is an inspiration to us all and shows how much fun toddlers can have despite health problems.
"We are lucky to have such a great example to instil confidence in other parents.
"We are also fortunate to have great support from First Touch - the charity that supports our neonatal unit."
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