Why we fly
George T’s Story
You never know what is around the corner for your children as we found out with George. Without the amazing service provided by the Children’s Air Ambulance some youngsters might not get the lifesaving care they need quickly enough – and that doesn’t bear thinking about.
Within a few hours of being diagnosed with a serious heart condition, eight week old baby George was undergoing specialist lifesaving treatment at a hospital over 100 miles away from his home in Bideford, Devon.
It took the Children’s Air Ambulance just 26 minutes to fly him to the specialist cardiac unit at Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital in August 2017.
The helicopter had flown from Coventry to pick up a specialist retrieval team from Bristol-based Wales and West Acute Transport for Children (WATch) and then on to Devon to prepare George for and accompany him back on the flight to Bristol.
“It would have been a very long and stressful journey by road which could have taken more than three hours. If George’s condition suddenly deteriorated during that time who knows how it may have ended,” says his Mum Janita.
She travelled with George in the helicopter on the same day as being told that her son needed to undergo an urgent echocardiogram after being diagnosed with a heart murmur and referred to hospital by the local GP. He was in severe heart failure.
“The paediatric consultants at Barnstaple said that a transfer by air ambulance was considered the safest and quickest way of taking George to Bristol given his very young age and serious condition.”
“We were still trying to get our heads around George’s diagnosis, but then we met the pilots and they were so supportive and reassuring. We felt in such safe hands and knew that getting George to the treatment he needed was all that mattered,” explains Janita.
When the helicopter touched down in Bristol, George was taken for an echocardiogram and it confirmed he had severe Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Mitral Regurgitation. The muscles and valve in his heart were weak and it meant he couldn’t pump blood around his body.
George underwent further tests and X-Rays to try to determine the underlying cause of his condition. He was connected to several monitors and given medication.
“Thankfully George responded well to the treatment. He fed well and gained weight and was allowed to come home after a week in hospital. This was great news for us all, especially my other son Jack who had missed his new baby brother and his mummy, “says Janita.
Sadly, there is no cure for George’s condition so he will have regular check-ups throughout his life and will always be on medication.
In January 2020 Janita said:
“George is now a very happy, very lively two and a half year old. As with most children of his age he is into everything but due to his developmental delay is still yet to start walking but is now pulling up onto his feet and starting to take a few steps with support.”
“You never know what is around the corner for your children as we found out with George. Without the amazing service provided by the Children’s Air Ambulance some youngsters might not get the lifesaving care they need quickly enough – and that doesn’t bear thinking about.”