Baby Eliana’s start in life had been rockier than most kids’, but thankfully the Alberta Children’s Hospital and the people who support it have been there for her every step of the way. Eliana was born with a hole in her heart, hypotonia (low muscle tone), as well as a condition which causes increased pressure in her heart which results in low oxygenation. Doctors told her parents Amy and Donald the treatment for their daughter’s condition is time and extra oxygen. Eliana also has a diaphragm that doesn’t quite work the way it’s supposed to – it doesn’t push down far enough to allow her right lung to fill all the way so her lung capacity is decreased. Each of these issues was manageable, but add them up and then throw RSV into the mix and the situation becomes very serious for a baby of just 7 weeks.
Fortunately, the Transport team had already brought Eliana from the family’s home near Drumheller to the ACH. As her condition worsened, she was rushed to the PICU. And that’s where she was the moment her little heart just gave out two weeks into her stay. Eliana went into cardiac arrest before her mum’s eyes and a code blue was called. Under Intensivist Dr. Elaine Gilfoyle’s watchful eye, the team rushed to administer CPR in an attempt to save her life.
As a nurse who has been involved in Code Blues herself, Amy is all too aware of CPR survival rates and how difficult it actually is to restart a heart. Watching her own tiny baby being resuscitated rendered her helpless as she stood in the corner as the PICU staff fought to save her daughter’s life. Thankfully, the team had access to brand new technology that day – a CPR feedback system that gives real-time audible and visual responses to the quality of CPR being administered. The equipment allowed the team to know exactly how fast and how hard their compressions should be – which is especially helpful when performing CPR on a small newborn – and they got Eliana’s heart beating again. And as a result of the excellent quality of the CPR, an MRI three days later showed no brain damage! In fact, as soon as she was saved, she bounced back at a surprising rate.
To hear more stories like this or to donate to the 2017 Caring for Kids Radiothon in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation visit www.KidsRadiothon.com