Man donates £100,000 to hospital in memory of nurse who saved him as a baby

Bill Douglas spent five months in a neonatal unit as a newborn under the care of Margaret Ansell, who he tracked down over 60 years later.

A man whose life was saved as a newborn by a Dundee nurse has donated £100,000 to help care for vulnerable babies.

Bill Douglas spent five months in a neonatal unit in the 1950s, under the care of Margaret Ansell.

He has now given a sizeable donation to the neonatal unit at Ninewells Hospital to help sponsor new treatments and to set up an award in Margaret’s memory.

“We had a close relationship,” said the 72-year-old.

“She’s always been there for me and I know Margaret is here, looking down on us.

“In the morning, when I clean my teeth, I go through and speak to my mum and dad, tell them what’s happening.

“Then I go through to Margaret’s picture and tell her what’s happening, so we’re still together.”

Bill was just two days old when he was taken to Dundee Royal Infirmary’s neonatal unit in 1950.

He was taken home after several months of care and his parents were told to expect the worst.

But Bill lived – and he would go on to track his nurse Margaret Ansell down over 60 years later.

Margaret’s friend Valerie Neasham said: “She told me about Bill. I knew about this baby that had been so sick, he’d sadly been sent home to die.

“She always wondered what had happened to Bill – so for Margaret at the time, when Bill got in touch, it was absolutely wonderful for her.”

The donation will fund new treatments and an award for nurses in Margaret’s name.

“As a neonatal nurse, you do think about all your past babies and past families you’ve looked after,” said Hayley McDonald, senior neonatal nurse.

“To hear Bill come through and tell his incredibly story has touched all of us.”

Shelley McCarthy, charity chief officer at Tayside Health Fund, added: “We worked with Bill to help him choose the elements he would like to fund to ensure there’s a clear legacy for sister Ansell and himself.

“The things that’ll be funded will be there to help families now and generations to come.”

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