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Life-Saving Care

Children are vulnerable. A child’s condition can change from stable to life-threatening in minutes. Timely access to specialized medical intervention can mean the difference between life or death, complete recovery or disability. That’s why even though specialists at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, come to work not knowing how each day will unfold, they are prepared.

No matter what life-threatening conditions their young patients face, these experts are prepared to do whatever it takes to help children and their families get through what may be the worst day of their lives. And that’s thanks, in large part, to people like you.

Until last summer, Krista and Andrew Ruffle had no reason to know the Transport program existed. Today, they will tell you that, without a doubt, it saved their son’s life.

Thanks to community support, the Pediatric Critical Care Transport Program at the Alberta Children’s Hospital provides kids with life-saving emergency care. Dedicated, highly skilled transport team members travel to smaller hospitals by ground ambulance, plane or helicopter to stabilize and treat seriously ill children before bringing them to the Alberta Children’s Hospital for critical care.


Last year, the Transport team provided critical care to over
300 children and babies from across southern Alberta, southwestern Saskatchewan and southeastern BC –
too sick to be cared for in their home communities
.

 

Because the Transport program is essentially an intensive care unit in the air or on the road, robust training and education of the team is crucial, as is the best equipment. Medical supplies and technology must be portable, compatible and easily transferable among all three ambulance types, and be able to perform in pressurized aircraft and turbulent conditions. And with patients ranging from newborns to full-grown teenagers experiencing conditions that vary from severe trauma to respiratory failure, Transport specialists must be prepared for every emergency.


Ethan's story

Ethan2.jpgBaby Ethan was just 2 ½ months old when his common cold took a turn for the worse. Thinking that his chest and breathing sounded not quite right, his mom Krista took him to the Emergency Department in their hometown of Lethbridge. Her mother’s intuition had been right. Ethan’s oxygen levels were low enough for concern and he was admitted straight away.

The team at the Lethbridge hospital began treating him for bronchiolitis, a common lung infection in infants. They put him on oxygen and inhalers, but he wasn’t improving. In fact, Ethan’s doctor took Krista aside and said that he was becoming hypoxic meaning there wasn’t enough oxygen in this blood. She was worried that Ethan was working too hard to breathe and that his little heart would give out. The doctor told Krista that she was very concerned for Ethan, that he was a very sick little baby and that he needed pediatric medical experts from the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Thanks to community support, the Pediatric Critical Care Transport Program at the Alberta Children’s Hospital is providing kids with life-saving emergency care. Dedicated, highly skilled transport team members travel to smaller hospitals by ground ambulance, plane or helicopter to stabilize and treat seriously ill children before bringing them to the Alberta Children’s Hospital for critical care.

When the Transport Team arrived, they found a little baby fighting to breathe and two terrified parents. The team’s priority was to take over Ethan’s breathing. They used special video intubation equipment to insert a breathing tube into his airway, and he was put onto a ventilator specially designed for infants. Ethan was loaded into the helicopter and rushed back to the Alberta Children’s Hospital where he could benefit from the full complement of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Following in their car, Krista, Andrew and their other two children arrived at the hospital to find Ethan in his PICU room, sedated and resting comfortably. Krista says that as scary as it is seeing your child in a hospital, she felt an immediate peace of mind. Ethan was diagnosed with RSV  a dangerous virus that causes infections in the lungs and respiratory tract. In the PICU, specialists provided Ethan with one-to-one care. His nurses provided constant deep suctioning to remove the secretions from his airway, never taking their eyes off him.

On his fifth day in the PICU, Ethan turned a corner. He was well enough to be taken off the ventilator, then progressed to high-flow oxygen and improved so much, he was transferred out of the PICU and onto the baby unit, where he spent another five days before going home a healthy and happy baby.

 

YOU CAN SUPPORT LIFE-SAVING CARE
Our generous community helps equip hospital experts with the very best tools, skills and knowledge to improve care for critically ill children.

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Advancements in life-saving care

Our generous community helps fund advancements across all areas of the Alberta Children's Hospital, including:

 

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Specially designed equipment and advanced training to help experts stabilize and safely transport sick and injured children.

 

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State-of-the-art surgical tools to help ensure the safest and most precise operations for kids and babies.

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The most powerful diagnostic imaging technology to ensure children are diagnosed faster and more accurately than ever before.

 

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CPR feeback systems to support critical care experts in providing the best quality CPR to children who require resuscitation.

 

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Special heart and lung bypass technology to give kids' hearts and lungs the chance to rest and heal when all other medical intervention has been exhausted.

 

 

    There are always GREAT events going on in support of the Alberta Children's Hospital!                                                  

Click here to view upcoming events >>