Carver and twin brother Archer were born 3 ½ months prematurely, intubated, and spent three months in Foothills NICU. Two months later, their mom Jennifer was enjoying life at home in Medicine Hat with them when she noticed Carver struggling to breathe. He was assessed by doctors at the local hospital who chalked his symptoms up to a common cold and croup. But days later, Jennifer peered into the bassinet around 3 a.m. and saw Carver’s entire chest was moving up and down. When she sat him up, he dropped his head backward, a sign he was struggling for air.
Jennifer and Mark rushed Carver back to hospital where he was admitted and treated for croup. But after three nights, his condition worsened. Doctors hooked him up to oxygen and took a chest X-ray, which didn’t find anything out of the ordinary. They soon realized that Carver urgently needed the experts of the Alberta Children’s Hospital so called in the Pediatric Critical Care Transport Team who flew to Medicine Hat via fixed-wing airplane. Seeing them arrive was both terrifying and a relief for Jennifer – she realized the seriousness of her baby’s situation but had a feeling he was also going to be in the best hands.
The team conducted a video call with intensivist Dr. Jaime Blackwood and with his breathing deteriorating, they decided he need to be intubated. Because of his critical airway, he was taken to the OR and safely intubated by an anesthetist using the Transport Team’s video laryngoscope. Thanks to that scope, which was purchased for the Transport Team during a past Radiothon, the anesthetist was able to take video and photos of Carver’s airway at the same time.
With those images, the Transport team discovered Carver had a cyst in his airway and send them off to ENT specialist Dr. Brookes at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Little Carver was transported via ambulance to the airport, and then loaded into the airplane, all the while Jennifer never left his side. Through all the movement and noise, the Team was able to keep close tabs on Carver’s vitals using a new transport monitor purchased during the 2020 Radiothon. Designed specifically for flight transports, it helped the team closely monitor his condition and make changes as needed.
Carver spent a day in the ICU and then Dr. Brookes surgically removed the cysts, which had been blocking 80%-90% of his airway. His airway should have been 5 mm in diameter, but the cysts were blocking 4 mm, leaving only 1 mm, or the size of a pin, for oxygen to get through. Carver recovered in unit 2, where the nurses made him feel comfortable and happy with a mobile above his bed. Even with a raspy voice, he laughed and laughed – it was music to Jennifer’s ears!
Jennifer is grateful for the life-saving care of the Transport Team and experts at the Alberta Children’s Hospital who were there for Carver when he urgently needed it.
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