National charity’s first patient celebrates 10th birthday
On 10 May 2013, the Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) took to the skies undertaking its maiden mission transferring newborn baby Theo, who has now celebrated his 10th birthday.
Theo Ratchford was born at Scarborough Hospital in May 2013, to his parents Denisa Mikova and Lee Ratchford. But what should have been the happiest moment of their lives, soon became a nightmare for the new parents, as baby Theo was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition.
Tiny Theo weighed just less than 5lbs when he was delivered by caesarean section, after a very difficult labour for Denisa, who had to be anaesthetised during the birth of her son. When Denisa awoke following the surgery, she and Lee were told by doctors that Theo’s oesophagus was not connected to his stomach properly and that he would need vital surgery if he was to survive.
Scarborough Hospital did not have the specialist surgeons required to perform the necessary operation, and his parents were told that he would need to be transferred to Hull Royal Infirmary to receive the lifesaving treatment needed, which was over an hour’s drive away.
“We thought we would be going by ambulance,” said Lee, “but then the helicopter came for him.”
The Children’s Air Ambulance was activated from its base, collected the clinical partner team Embrace – part of Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust – and flew to Scarborough Hospital to pick up little Theo.
Once Theo was onboard, the flight to Hull took just 15 minutes, a journey which would have taken over an hour by road, without including traffic conditions during rush hour - It’s cases like this where every minute can, and does, count.
Since his flight, young Theo is doing great and progressing a lot, celebrating 10 birthdays, and living life to the full.
“Theo’s very outgoing and a cheeky chap. He’s a little comedian who loves to make people laugh and gets on with everybody and it’s a pleasure watching him grow up,” says Denisa.
The family have and continues to celebrate many of Theo’s achievements, especially school achievements, as he struggles with learning and memory problems, but he takes it all in his stride and is supported by a special needs teacher who does one-to-one sessions with him on a variety of interesting topics.
With his knowledge and love of cars and always pretending to drive, Theo has dreams of being a bus or lorry driver, or even a police officer.
“He just loves cars, and he also enjoys getting outdoors on his bicycle or scooter, and he makes new friends every time he goes out,” explains Denisa. “He’s been on holidays, including to Disneyland and it was such a magical moment together as a family,” she adds.
The Children’s Air Ambulance has developed over the years into the pioneering transfer service it is today. It’s changing the face of paediatric and neonatal care through the high-speed transfer of critically ill babies and children and flying them from one hospital to another for specialist care.
This year the national charity celebrates its 10th anniversary of the lifesaving service which without public support, simply wouldn’t be here for those in need. Every donation it receives goes a long way towards the £3,500 needed to keep the helicopters flying babies and children, like Theo.
“I just want to thank the whole team again, they helped save my child and get him to the hospital safely without the Children’s Air Ambulance I don’t think my child would have survived, but I’m very thankful and blessed that he is here today, and we’ve already made so many wonderful memories,” adds Denisa.