Baby risk from smoking rebels

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SELFISH smokers have been accused of polluting the lungs of newborn premature babies at Milton Keynes Hospital.

For nicotine-craving patients and visitors are choosing to ignore strict warning signs and light up just outside the hospital’s main entrance.

No smoking signs at MK hospital'''Wk 7 MPMC

No smoking signs at MK hospital'''Wk 7 MPMC

Yet directly above them is the neonatal unit, where hundreds of sick and tiny babies are cared for each year.

One angry mum said: “My baby stayed in the neonatal unit and I got increasingly frustrated with the incessant smoking under the windows.

“I stayed in the ‘rooming in’ rooms with my poorly newborn and could never leave the windows open for fear of my already sick baby breathing in other people’s smoke. These babies are poorly enough without passive smoking adding to their problems.”

The Citizen contacted the hospital, whose spokesman Lea Fountain said: “This is a valid problem and actually we’d welcome your support with it.

“The area is right by the main entrance and, like the rest of the site, is strictly no smoking. But people ignore the signs. We even put signs up saying the smoke goes up to the baby unit but people don’t seem to care.

“Our security staff and others regularly point out these signs to people and ask them to stop.”

But, said Lea, some people refuse and even get quite aggressive about the request.

Staff in the neonatal unit and elsewhere in the hospital get “very upset” about the problem, she said.

Now parents of some of the sick babies are urging smokers again to stub it out.

“People can smoke off the hospital site and grounds and they are free to ruin their own health if they wish.

“All we’re asking is that they do not ruin the health of these tiny babies.”