Science and Belief

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There is a special poignancy about the neonatal intensive care unit on Christmas day.  Whilst billions around the world are celebrating the birth of one special baby, we are struggling to care for 20 or more desperately ill and fragile newborns, tiny human beings who cling to life with the help of advanced medical technology.

In the baby unit in central London where I spent most of my professional career, every Christmas the senior nurse, decorated the unit with tinsel and cards.  Every baby had their own tiny stocking filled with miniature presents hanging from the incubator door on Christmas morning.  Parents, grandparents and siblings visited the neonatal unit to share the special day with their newborn relatives.

Occasionally an older child or adolescent who had been an inpatient on the unit years previously, would arrive with their family.  I remember meeting an 18 year…

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