Journalism lecturer Clare Jenkins presented a personal insight into the world of premature babies on BBC Radio 4 this week.
Clare – who also co-runs independent radio company Pennine Productions – presented and produced the half-hour documentary, The Incubator. It traced the story of her twin nephews, born just before Christmas 2013, four months premature. One twin, Harry, died at three weeks. The other, Jack, survived, with a number of long-term health problems.
For the programme, Clare talked to her brother and sister-in-law, along with three other parents of premature babies. She also interviewed staff in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at King’s College Hospital in London, where Jack spent the first eight months of his life.
“Before this happened to my family,” says Clare, “I had no idea about the level of care that goes into keeping these tiny babies alive. Or about the number of specialists involved – not just doctors and nurses, but opthamologists, speech and language therapists, neurosurgeons, tissue nurses… I wanted to pay tribute to their skill, and also to show how people’s worlds can be turned upside down, in a matter of moments.”
A thought-provoking exploration
The Incubator was the subject of a double-page spread in the Radio Times, who called it “a thought-provoking exploration”. It was also Radio Choice in The Times, Observer, Daily Mail and Independent, Radio 4’s documentary podcast of the week – Seriously… podcast – and on Pick of the Week.
The Incubator, BBC Radio 4, Monday 30th November, 11am, repeated Wednesday 2nd December at 9pm, and available on BBC iPlayer.