Parents of three-year-old who died of swine flu overjoyed after baby daughter is born
Last updated at 5:04 PM on 14th February 2012
New life: Zana with baby Lian, who will sadly never get to meet her older sister
The parents of a toddler killed by swine flu have told of their joy after the birth of their new baby daughter.
Gemma and Zana Ameen were heartbroken when three-year-old Lana died just two days after developing symptoms of the virus as the family celebrated Christmas.
They took her to A&E at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester – where Gemma, a nurse, and her doctor husband, had formerly worked.
Lana was treated for an infection but was sent home and died on Boxing Day.
Now the couple are celebrating the arrival of baby Lian, who was born four weeks’ early, weighing 5lb 1oz.
They said that Lian was remarkably similar to her big sister – not just in appearance, but also in character.
Gemma, 29, said: 'Lian is just gorgeous. She arrived a little early but she is doing really well.
'She’ll never take the place of Lana – both are very precious to us.
definitely look similar – we’ve got pictures of both girls at the same
age and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Even their cries
are the same.'
The parents of a toddler killed by swine flu have told of their joy following the birth of their new baby daughter.
Bittersweet: Gemma and Zana with Lana before her tragic death from swine flu on Boxing Day 2010
Gemma and Zana Ameen were heartbroken
when three-year-old Lana died on Boxing Day 2010 – just two days after developing symptoms.
WHY ARE CHILDREN MORE AT RISK
Swine flu is a respiratory disease, caused by several strains of the influenza
Outbreaks happen regularly among pigs but only rarely are humans
Children are more at risk due to weaker immune systems, along with elderly people or those with other illnesses.
up to 50 per cent of the public may have contracted swine flu in the
2010 pandemic – but most suffered no symptoms.
While many charities, health organisations and parental groups call for a nationwide jab,
the Government said in November there is not enough evidence it would
be ‘cost-effective’ to offer the vaccine to all youngsters every year.
Meanwhile, the virus is still around.
In December a Minnesota child developed a strain of swine flu,
In February 2011 an otherwise healthy 21-year-old dancer, Katie Rich, died in Cambridge – just five days after catching the virus, showing how risky the virus can be regardless of age.
Both parents worked at Stepping Hill
hospital, Stockport, where their daughter died, but the hospital was
later criticised for misdiagnosing Lana's illness as indigestion.
The tragic death shocked the nation,
and Gemma and husband released a harrowing picture of Lana's final
moments in a bid to persuade the Government to take action to protect
all youngsters against the H1N1 virus.
14 months after the loss of Lana, the couple are celebrating the birth
of baby girl Lian, born four weeks early weighing 5lb 1 oz.
Healthcare assistant Gemma, from
Smethwick, Birmingham, said: 'No one will ever replace Lana but it was
like a bit of the jigsaw was missing and Lian has made it complete
'She is just gorgeous and although arriving a little early is doing really well.
I look at stories in the news I thank God I had the chance to hold Lana
in my arms. Her last words to us were “goodnight, goodnight” – she
repeated it over and over again.
now think that she was trying to tell me something. This was when she
was going in and out of consciousness. She knew that her body was
'It's been one hell of a ride but once you're a mum and you've had that feeling, you want to have that feeling again.
I did the pregnancy test, Zana said “do the test, do the test” and I
said “no, I will do it in the morning as it's supposed to be more
accurate then – but I took it in the evening in the end.
and his sister were downstairs and couldn't wait any longer so I went
to secretly do it. It came up as positive and I snuck downstairs and he
was standing up.
'I had a massive grin on my face and said, “give me a cuddle.”
'He guessed straight away that I was pregnant. I was so happy that I started to cry.'
had been staying with Zana, 35, at her family home in Stockport,
Greater Manchester, on Christmas Eve when Lana developed a cold, but at
2am she woke up screaming with a high temperature of almost 40 degrees.
Appeal: The parents visited Downing Street in May last year in a bid to ensure all children were vaccinated against swine flu
This harrowing picture of three-year-old daughter Lana was used to highlight the importance of swine flu jabs
She was rushed to Stepping Hill hospital who brought her temperature down and sent her home again.
She deteriorated over Christmas Day so Gemma and Zana rushed her back in and the next day she was transferred to Alder Hey in Liverpool.
By then she was too ill and she slipped away.
The distressed parents demanded answers from the hospital as to why she wasn't treated properly and have since been given a verbal apology.
They also visited Parliament to campaign for a new government initiative to vaccinate every child against the virus and criticised the health care service as a 'postcode lottery'.
Now Gemma and her husband, Zana, a hospital registrar originally from Kurdistan, are looking forward to being parents again but say they will not give up fighting until children have access to the jab.
After the shock and dismay of losing Lana, Gemma and Zana petitioned to change the policy about the vaccination, which is only available to people deemed 'high risk', to be available for everyone – especially children.
The couple were invited to Parliament in May last year to hand in their petition and meet with Health Minister Anne Milton. Gemma is now waiting anxiously to hear whether the government will be changing its policies on swine flu vaccinations.
Gemma said: 'It gets to me why is it not available Every other vaccination is for children.
'People die every day of different things but there's a vaccination there for people if they need it.
'I wouldn't want to push for it unless it was safe but I have had it and Zana my husband has had the vaccination twice.'
Zana said: 'As soon as Lian's old enough we'll show her photographs and videos of Lana and when she's bigger we'll take her to Lana's grave.
'We want to make sure Lian knows exactly how special Lana was.'