Doctors who treated a pregnant mother for a broken arm discovered her unborn child had been days from death – then delivered a baby so tiny it weighed less than the plaster cast on her mother’s shattered limb.
Mother-of-three Shona Stacey, 41, was six months pregnant when she tripped and fell on her way to the post office.
She broke her arm and was rushed to an accident and emergency ward where her limb was set in a plaster cast.
But routine tests then revealed her placenta had already failed and her unborn child had been starving inside her womb.
Doctors said if Shona had not been taken to hospital with the broken arm her baby would have been still born within days.
Her daughter Keira was delivered the day after the accident by emergency Caesarean section at 13 weeks – weighing 19oz.
The little girl weighed less than the 2lb plaster cast her mother had placed on her broken arm.
Keira arrived on October 8 and was on a ventilator for three months but is now healthy enough to stay at home full time.
Shona, of Plymouth, Devon, said: ”I fell and broke my arm and was taken to hospital but had no idea there was anything wrong with my baby.
”Doctors treated the arm and gave me a routine scan because they were worried the fall had distressed Keira.
”But they found out that my placenta had failed and she was already in grave trouble.
”I’d had a scan a month before and she was okay but something had gone wrong.
”They said she would have to be delivered straight away because she was being deprived of oxygen.
”If I hadn’t tripped she would have been still born. It’s a miracle I broke my arm.”
Full time mum Shona’s broke her right arm as she walked to the shops and tripped on a loose paving stone.
Passers-by called an ambulance and she was taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.
Medical staff gave her an X ray and a plaster cast and then carried out tests to check the baby was okay.
But doctors then told Shona and fiance Greg, 36, a recycling worker, her placenta had already began to fail and explained Keira was unlikely to survive.
Shona said: ”I’ve blood tests since and they think I carry a chromosome which affects placenta and makes it fail.
”The doctors weren’t hopeful. We thought we had lost her.”
Doctors feared she could be blind, deaf or suffer from cerebral palsy or have problems with her kidneys and liver.
Keira had pneumonia aged 10 days and her lungs collapsed and she also suffered broken legs and ribs because her bones were so weak.
But battling against the odds she pulled through and came home in February and is expected to live a normal life.
Shona, who has daughters Abigail, 11, and Roxanne, nine, had her plaster cast removed after six weeks.
She said: ”When I first had her in hospital I wasn’t allowed to hold her. The plaster cast wouldn’t fit in the incubator and wasn’t hygienic.
”I look at her everyday and I just cannot believe she is here. She is just so precious. Precious is one of her middle names.
”We just feel blessed. We will never complain about getting up in the night to feed her. We will take nothing for granted. She is just a little poppet.
”She was brought back from the brink of death. She became very much the centre of attention at hospital. They think that Keira has written her own medical history.”