A MUM nursed her newborn baby today and urged hospital chiefs: Don't put lives at risk.
That is the plea of Kirkheaton mother Vania Gallagher-Wild, on the eve of a crucial health meeting in Huddersfield.
She is urging health chiefs not to move maternity services from Huddersfield to Halifax and has a very personal reason for doing so.
Mrs Gallagher-Wild, 30, had her son Sebastian on March 6 at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
She had been expecting a normal birth - but had to undergo an emergency Caesarean section after unforeseen complications.
Mrs Gallagher-Wild said the consequences could have been tragic if she had been forced to travel to Halifax for the emergency operation.
She said: "I went from a normal delivery to needing a Caesarean in 30 minutes.
"If I'd had to go to Halifax there would have been travelling time, then all the preparation for the operation. I don't know what would have happened. But I'm definitely not in favour of services moving from Huddersfield."
Mrs Gallagher-Wild's experience illustrates concerns of thousands of local people who have objected to Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust's plans to move services.
Members of Calderdale and Huddersfield Primary Care Trusts will decide tomorrow whether move maternity, planned surgery, gynaecological and children's services from HRI to Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax.
Only a midwife-led unit would remain in Huddersfield for women with low-risk pregnancies.
Should something go wrong, mums-to-be would have to be transferred up the busy A629 to Halifax.
Many - including Mrs Gallagher-Wild - fear that this trip could result in tragedy.
She said: "They are messing with people's lives. My case shows how unpredictable these situations are."
Mrs Gallagher-Wild had gone to hospital with husband Robert and her parents, Richard and Rita Gallagher, expecting a normal delivery.
But a midwife who took a sample of her waters spotted a problem and the consultant discovered that the placenta was blocking the baby's exit.
He immediately ordered an emergency Caesarean.
Mrs Gallagher-Wild said: "It was called placenta previa. It can be fatal for the baby. It was such a shock."
Sebastian is Mrs Gallagher-Wild's second child.
She also had her four-year-old daughter Alexandra at HRI.
She said: "It was the same midwife and Sebastian was presenting just the same way as Alexandra had. But with her I had a normal delivery. It shows that unexpected things can happen."
Mrs Gallagher-Wild's said she cannot see why the current good service should be jeopardised.
She said: "The staff at the delivery suite were absolutely fantastic, I could not fault the treatment.
"Moving services would be a disgrace."
Mrs Gallagher-Wild's parents, who live at Fixby, are also appalled by the proposals.
Her mother, Rita, said: "The night Vania went in it was organised chaos on the unit. There were so many emergency Caesareans. How could they transport all those women to Halifax? It's inconceivable."
Her father, Richard, said: "Emergencies like Vania's can be critical. It's bordering on insanity.
"They are only concerned with money rather than care. They are putting lives at risk."