Mother of milestone 500th mission patient praises Children’s Air Ambulance
The mother of a baby with a complex heart condition has spoken about the vital role the Children’s Air Ambulance has played in her daughter’s ongoing medical situation.
Sadie-Rose Green from Helston, Cornwall wants to raise awareness of the national charity – which operates an inter-hospital transfer service for flying critically ill babies and children from one hospital to another for specialist care.
Her first child Maddie-Rose was flown from The Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children in January this year when she was three months old. It was the milestone 500th patient transfer undertaken by the charity.
Born prematurely with serious heart defects and breathing difficulties, Maddie-Rose needed to go back to Bristol (the hospital where she was delivered by C-Section) for scans and specialist investigations so that doctors could plan her future treatment.
“The cardiology team decided the quickest and safest way to transport her was by helicopter,” says Sadie-Rose.
The Children’s Air Ambulance took off from its base in Doncaster and flew to Bristol to pick up a specialist paediatric retrieval team from Wales & West Acute Transport for Children (WATCh) – one of 10 clinical partners working with the charity – for the onward journey to Truro.
After preparing Maddie-Rose for the transfer the team accompanied her back to Bristol in the helicopter, which provides a flying intensive care unit and travels approximately four times faster than a land ambulance.
It took just one hour 17 minutes to fly from Truro to Bristol, compared with a 170-mile road journey of just under three hours, not allowing for traffic hold-ups.
“It was awful handing over my baby and not being with her, but I knew it was the quickest and best way for her to get to the specialists in Bristol and she was in the excellent hands of the pilots and WATCh team,” says Sadie-Rose.
She and her partner Tyler Smith – Maddie-Rose’s dad – stayed with their daughter in Bristol for five days while doctors did all the investigations they needed to do to make decisions about future treatment.
Maddie-Rose was transferred back to The Royal Cornwall Hospital by land ambulance for ongoing care and observations and it wasn’t until she was five-and-a-half months old in March this year that she went home to Helston for the first time since she was born.
She is currently being looked after by local community nurses while she continues to grow and gain weight before she undergoes open-heart surgery to reconstruct her pulmonary arteries and close a hole in her heart.
“She is a very strong-willed and determined little girl and that’s what has got her through to the stage we are now,” says Sadie-Rose.
The family still have a challenging time ahead, with Maddie-Rose’s operation scheduled for June or July this year but reflecting on what has happened to their daughter since she was born, they want to acknowledge the difference made by the Children’s Air Ambulance.
“Living in Cornwall we are so far from anywhere and if your child needs specialist care Bristol is the nearest hospital. If you have a critically ill baby or child knowing that there is the Children’s Air Ambulance available to get them as quickly as possible to where they need to be is a great comfort for all parents.”
“We just want to say thank you so much for the help they gave Maddie-Rose and sharing our story is a way of doing that by raising awareness of the charity.”
“It’s unbelievable that the Children’s Air Ambulance is a charity and gets no government funding. The work it does is so important and helps save lives. People need to know about the service and make donations to support it if they can.”