Emily's Radiothon Story

Emily owes her life to the Transport team and the experts at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Without them, she might not be here. May 28, she woke up with a fever and a boil on her thigh that showed up a few days before. When her breathing changed too, her mom Nanci called Health Link who advised her to visit their local hospital in Drumheller. In the emergency room there, doctors began working to lance the boil. Emily was given antibiotics and medication and soon after, became very groggy. When the team decided to keep her overnight for observation, Nanci went home to grab a few of Emily’s belongings. When she returned, Emily was so “out of it” that she fell from the bed. Doctors told Nanci Emily was reacting to the medication or gave her too much, and they administered a reversal drug. It turned out, Emily had Type 1 Diabetes and she was going into Diabetic Shock and a coma. Doctors soon determined she would need the experts of the Alberta Children’s Hospital so called the Transport team to pick her up via STARs helicopter. Nanci tearfully recalls the heartbreaking goodbye she and her husband said to their daughter who was so in and out of consciousness that she didn’t know who they were. In silence, clutching each other’s hands, they made the drive to Calgary not knowing how Emily would be when they got there.

Just as they slammed the doors to the truck in the parking lot, they could hear and see the helicopter overhead. When they arrived to the PICU, Emily was in a coma and was septic, but specialists were by her side monitoring vitals every 15 minutes. They started a series of IVs and insulin infusion, as well as oxygen. For the next 3 ½ days as she slept, she underwent an MRI, CT, EEG, EKG, Hemodialysis, ultrasound, X-ray, two surgeries, and daily blood work. Her parents switched off sitting with her, reading to her and talking to her, preparing for the worst, but praying for the best. And when she woke up (asking for water!) – her parents were ecstatic! Confused, Emily looked up. When she recognized the borders on the wall that she’d remembered from when she was a little girl when she used to visit the hospital for bilateral club feet. After five days in the PICU, she was stable, but faced another hurdle: renal failure. She had only 6% of her kidney function and was put on dialysis in the Nephrology Clinic on Unit 3. For the next three weeks, she was also followed by teams in Endocrinology, physiotherapy, and Plastic Surgery. Today, she is back to almost 100% kidney function and feeling well as she learns how to live with her new diagnosis.

Nanci says there are no words to express her gratitude. Had the Transport Team not brought Emily to where she needed to be, they could have lost her. They are forever grateful to the Transport team, Alberta Children’s Hospital, and generous community who support both.

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