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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 11:36 GMT
Royal mercy flight baby dies
Ambulanceman takes incubator off plane
The royal aircraft made the flight
A baby who was flown to Scotland for specialist treatment on an aircraft normally used to carry the Royal Family has died in hospital.

Baby Khola was born at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London, last month with an undisclosed rare condition.

She was transferred to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Glasgow's Yorkhill Hospital on 23 January.

However, Khola - who was just over a month old - died on Monday.

"The last few days have been very sad for Khola and her parents," said a spokesman for the hospital.

We wish to thank everyone who prayed for our daughter
Khola's parents
"Our thoughts are with them at this tragic time."

Khola's parents, who wish to remain anonymous, thanked the Queen for allowing the use of the jet.

"We would like to say thank you for all the care Khola has received," they said in a statement.

"We wish to thank the hospital staff in Glasgow and London, the team who transported Khola, and the Queen for allowing the use of her plane.

"We also wish to thank everyone who prayed for our daughter."

Khola arrives at Yorkhill
Khola was taken to Yorkhill Hospital
An RAF Hercules had initially been scheduled to take the baby to Glasgow last month. However, it burst a tyre as it landed at Northolt.

It was then decided to fly the baby and the medical team to Glasgow in an aircraft from the Royal Squadron.

The four-engine British Aerospace 146 was the same aircraft used for the Queen's Jubilee Tour of Britain last year.

A Royal Navy helicopter at Prestwick was mobilised and flown in bad weather to RAF Northolt where the specialist medical team on board was transferred to St George's Hospital in Tooting.

The baby was stabilised in an incubator throughout the night before the transfer to Glasgow.

Breathing difficulties

Doctors at Yorkhill said Khola had been in need of respiratory support.

Four hospitals in the UK can provide extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for breathing difficulties, but Glasgow was the only hospital able to accommodate Khola.

The process involves taking the baby's blood out of the body, through an artificial lung and pumping it back in, allowing the baby's lungs to rest.



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