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Preventing cerebral palsy in premature babies – Elly’s story

Last updated: 10/01/2023

On 24 August 2013, Elly Salisbury went into labour at just 27 weeks. Because of the risks associated with preterm labour, Elly was offered and then given magnesium sulfate.

This helped to reduce her babies’ chances of developing cerebral palsy.

She was one of the first mothers to be given magnesium sulfate as part of the PReCePT project.

Elly later gave birth to twin boys, Jay and Cormac at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol.

Sadly Jay suffered two grade four brain bleeds and was transferred to palliative care where he died a few days later.

However, Cormac survived against the odds and is now a happy and healthy nine-year-old.

Since then Elly has been involved with PReCePT as a public contributor, helping to shape how the programme is communicated with parents in her situation.

Elly says:

“Cormac is an amazing boy, and he has no signs of cerebral palsy at all. I truly believe that the magnesium sulfate was part of that. I feel incredibly lucky to have been given magnesium sulfate at that time.

“I am so glad that the PReCePT programme has been rolled out through the AHSNs nationally, and that the ARC West evaluation has found the programme to be so effective.

“For mothers who are going to give birth under 30 weeks, it’s vitally important and so it’s incredible that those mothers are now being offered magnesium sulfate no matter where they give birth in England.

“It fills me with pride and joy that now it’s not just the lucky ones like myself who happened to be in a hospital that offered magnesium sulfate. All mothers across the country in my situation will get magnesium sulfate thanks to the PReCePT programme. And that will make such a difference to so many babies and their families.

“Behind every infusion of magnesium sulfate is a little boy or a little girl, just like Cormac, and a family just like ours. Every single family should have that chance to be given this drug.”