The wide range of pediatric specialty services offered from Blank Children's Hospital have contributed to its standing as a regional provider of medical services to children. And as a regional provider - patients come to Blank Children's Hospital from across Iowa and beyond - it is vital to have an efficient and well-equipped transportation program for those in critical need of care.
Recognizing the importance of this vital piece in the continuum of care, Blank Children's Hospital launched a new ambulance to ensure the swift transfer of pediatric patients. In October 2009, a new Neonatal and Pediatric Critical Care Ambulance was put into service. The ambulance was made possible because of community support and a leadership gift from Variety - The Children's Charity. One-of-a-kind in the region, the new vehicle has proven to be a true life saver, to which Terri of Perry can attest.
Shortly after fighting off a nasty respiratory virus, Terri's son, Daniel, exhibited signs of the stomach flu. Just 3-month-old, Daniel was running a fever and having a hard time keeping his formula down when Terri took him to the doctor. With the stomach flu making its way around town, Daniel's doctor advised they restrict his diet and try to keep him hydrated and allow the virus to run its course. But Daniel failed to improve and on a Monday, Terri and husband, Jim, woke early to find Daniel wet from head-to-toe and covered in a "brown mess." The couple drove Daniel to Carroll to see their doctor, in horrid winter driving conditions. It was there that the care providers consulted with the specialists at Blank Children's Hospital.
"They decided he needed to be seen as soon as possible and they sent the ambulance to pick him up," Terri says. "Because of road conditions and the fog it took nearly two hours for them to get to Carroll and two hours to get back to Blank Children's."
But it was the only option. The conditions made an air transport impossible and the likelihood of a conventional ambulance making it into or out of Carroll was marginal at best. Thankfully the Neonatal and Pediatric Critical Care Ambulance is equipped to handle the worst in driving conditions. It is also designed to accommodate a parent to ride along, which is just what Terri did.
"I rode in the front seat and had a monitor to watch Daniel the whole way and see what was happening," she says. "That was very reassuring to me."
When Daniel arrived at Blank Children's Hospital, he was whisked into the emergency room and immediately prepped for surgery. The surgery found that his colon had telescoped around itself and his appendix. A pediatric surgeon performed the surgery and was able to repair the colon without removing any of it, although Daniel's appendix did have to be removed. Daniel spent a week in the hospital following the surgery.
"I've never gone through anything like that," Terri says. She and Jim have four other children: Laura, 16; Morgan, 7; Audrey, 4; and Benjamin, 3. "It was scary, but they took care of him and they took care of us. The nurses and physicians were always coming in to see how we were doing," she continues. "They did a great job with all of us. I didn't have to worry at all and that was a great relief."
As for Daniel, he is better than ever. "He eats twice as much now and is a happy little boy," Terri says. "He has healed up just great."