When Angela and Ron Thomas' eight-month baby Roger needed life-saving
emergency care during a weekend getaway in the mountains, the Alberta
Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Critical Care Transport team was there
when they needed them.
And thanks to community support, the specialists on the team had a crucial
tool to do their job and get him back to the hospital safely, where he
could benefit from the full complement of the intensive care unit.
Thomas family was getting ready to go home to Edmonton following an
August long weekend vacation in Harvie Heights near Canmore when they
noticed Roger seemed listless and lethargic. Angela took him out of his
car seat and placed him on the floor where suddenly, he started to
convulse. Angela was horrified as she realized her baby was having a
Roger’s worried parents called 911 and paramedics rushed him
to hospital in Canmore. Because little Roger was so sick, it was soon
apparent he needed the specialized care of the Alberta Children’s
Hospital and the Pediatric Critical Care Transport team was called out
to Canmore to get him.
Thankfully, the Transport experts were equipped with
the latest in ventilator technology – technology that was made possible
by our generous Radiothon supporters.
Roger was unable to breathe on
his own and had to be intubated. Once a tube was inserted into his
airway, the machine, which can monitor all his vital signs, took over
“We can’t thank the community enough for funding
this new state-of-the-art piece of equipment for our team,” says Tanya
Spence, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Coordinator of the Pediatric
Critical Care Transport Program. “The new transport ventilator is latest
equipment – it’s like going from a flip phone to an iPhone. Even our
most seasoned Respiratory Therapists feel better when intubating a child
when the latest technology is in their hands.”
The ventilator can
also help kids of all ages – from babies to 18-year-olds – and has more
“bells and whistles”, so it allows for more options when it comes to the
types of ventilation that can be given to a patient.
typical ICU ventilator, some patients need to be given big breaths, some
need small breaths, there are a variety of treatments – you can tailor
to what the patient needs. This one is a compact version of the ICU
ventilator,” says Spence.
During the ride in the ambulance with her
baby, Angela feared the worst. Later, she went through the day in her
mind and remembered Roger had had a fever earlier that morning and she
and her husband presumed he had a cold or caught a bug. She never
expected he would finish his day in the back of an ambulance.
“When he would have a fever, we would give him Tylenol and he’d be OK, so we gave him some Tylenol as we always do,” she says.
go from something usual like a fever to him not breathing was
terrifying. But I knew he was in good hands and they were taking him to a
place where they could take the best care of him and determine what was
Once Roger arrived at the Alberta Children’s
Hospital, he was taken immediately to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
where he stayed for two days. An MRI showed Roger’s brain was
undamaged and while the seizure had been extremely frightening, it had
most likely been brought on by his high fever and not an abnormality in
his brain. The neurology team at the hospital is keeping a close eye on
him and today he is doing exceptionally well at home.
metabolisms, tiny airways, less blood and fluid reserves and a higher
sensitivity to changes in body temperature, a sick child’s condition can
become life-threatening in minutes. Quick access to specialized medical
care and the latest equipment to rapidly identify and respond to
changes in a child’s condition can greatly impact a child’s outcome.
Thanks to your support, the transport ventilator gave Roger a chance at
the best outcome possible
When Angela learned the ventilator that
had helped to save Roger’s life was purchased by the community, she was
overwhelmed with gratitude.
“I am so thankful for the community
funding the ventilator,” she says. “Without it, we would have had to
wait much longer before Roger was able to be transferred to the Alberta
Children's Hospital. This would have meant waiting longer to test for
the potential reasons behind the seizure. For some children, not having
that ventilator available could be a matter of life and death. No one
lives day to day expecting bad things to happen to their children, but
when things do get hairy, it is wonderful for the best tools to be there
for our kids.”