The Bond household had been fighting colds, so initially Sara and Michael didn’t think much of their baby Adam seeming a bit off. However, when his symptoms worsened, Sara took him to the Emergency Department in their hometown of Lethbridge. An X-ray showed Adam’s heart was enlarged and after an echocardiogram, specialists knew they needed the expertise of the cardiology team at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. ACH’s donor-funded pediatric transport team, including nurse Chris Broderick, travelled to Lethbridge by fixed-wing airplane to pick up baby Adam and keep him as stable as possible on his emergency journey to Calgary. It was nerve-wracking for Sara to hand her baby off to strangers who would fly him to a different city, but in a brief meeting with the team before take-off, Sara felt confident her baby was in good hands. The team provided regular updates about Adam’s condition and where they were at, which meant the world to his anxious parents. They also offered information about the Alberta Children’s Hospital, which the Bonds knew nothing about – where to park, how to get to the PICU where Adam would be, etc. Sara was so grateful for the reassurance and guidance she received.
At the Alberta Children’s Hospital, cardiologist Dr. Lindsay Mills diagnosed Adam with a rare heart defect that required surgery. Adam flew to Edmonton with Nurse Chris from the transport team via STARS, where he spent a month following the operation. Then it was back to the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Once again, the hospital’s dedicated transport team brought Adam safely to Calgary by airplane. Sara says waiting for that flight was easier, as she knew how well Adam had been looked after the first time. Once again, the team focused on keeping her and Michael informed about their status. Adam spent a month at the Alberta Children’s Hospital where specialists monitored his recovery from surgery, weaned him off some drugs and taught his parents how to take over his care. After more than two months in hospitals away from home, the Bonds were relieved to finally be back in Lethbridge with their family together again.
Sara was amazed at how “competent, compassionate and calm” the Alberta Children’s Hospital transport team is and now, knowing what they do, she is so grateful this donor-funded team exists. Since her family has access to a bustling hospital at home, she never would have expected to need the services they did in Calgary and rely so heavily on the transport team, but “you just don’t realize how specialized pediatrics is,” she says.