Why we fly
Knowing he was going to get where he needed to be as quickly as possible made the situation easier for me. I hadn’t slept for 24 hours and was in shock when the helicopter arrived. I was really worried about Jayden but the pilots made me feel that everything was going to be alright
A few weeks before his second birthday Jayden was transferred by the Children’s Air Ambulance from his local hospital in Scarborough to Leeds General Infirmary.
He had been sedated and intubated after suffering breathing difficulties due to what his GP had diagnosed as croup.
He urgently needed specialist care that was only available at the nearest Paediatric Intensive Care Unit 66 miles away by road – a journey which would take at least an hour and a half, not allowing for traffic hold-ups.
But in just 25 minutes, Jayden arrived in Leeds with his mum Louise and a team from Embrace, Yorkshire & Humber Infant & Children’s Transport Service – one of the clinical partner teams that work with the Children’s Air Ambulance.
“Knowing he was going to get where he needed to be as quickly as possible made the situation easier for me. I hadn’t slept for 24 hours and was in shock when the helicopter arrived. I was really worried about Jayden but the pilots made me feel that everything was going to be alright,” says Louise.
Her living nightmare started the day before the helicopter transfer in February this year when Jayden started having difficulty breathing. She took him to the GP who diagnosed croup and prescribed steroid medication.
But the drug didn’t have any effect and at his bedtime, Jayden wouldn’t settle down to sleep.
“He became increasingly more agitated and was struggling for breath even more. I was at home on my own, as Jayden’s dad works at night, so I rang 111 and they sent an ambulance,” explains Louise.
Arrangements were made for her five-year-old daughter to be looked after and Louise accompanied Jayden on the road journey to the local hospital three miles away.
“I knew it was serious because the sirens and lights were on,” she says.
On arrival at the hospital, Jayden was given steroids and admitted to the children’s ward but his breathing didn’t improve and he was transferred to the High Dependency Unit.
“He was being given oxygen but didn’t like having the mask on. I had to fight to keep it over his mouth and every time it came off his blood oxygen levels dropped,” says Louise.
Eventually, the doctors decided that Jayden’s little body needed to rest to help him recover and so he was sedated, intubated and put on a ventilator.
As Scarborough Hospital doesn’t have a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, which Jayden now needed to be in, the Children’s Air Ambulance was mobilised from its base in Doncaster to pick him up and transfer him to Leeds.
The Embrace team, who had made their own way to Scarborough from their base in Barnsley, prepared Jayden for the flight and they accompanied him in the helicopter with his mum.
On arrival at Leeds, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and after two days was well enough to be taken back to Scarborough Hospital with Louise in a land ambulance. After another night he was allowed to go home.
“It’s amazing what a quick recovery he made. He wasn’t quite himself for a couple of weeks but soon bounced back to normal,” says Louise.
“The Children’s Air Ambulance is an amazing service and is a charity that is supported by public donations. We are going to do some fundraising and have already got a grant from a local Scarborough charity that supports good causes. It’s the least we can do after what was done for our family,” she adds.