First helicopter transfers for lifesaving team
14 December 2012
After a year of fundraising and the launch of its helicopter in
Autumn, national lifesaving charity The Children's Air Ambulance
(TCAA) has this week carried out its first transfers; flying
specialist teams and equipment from Glenfield Hospital to two
critically ill youngsters.
The transfers came following an announcement between TCAA and
Glenfield Hospital of a partnership to facilitate a helicopter
transfer system for their Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation
(ECMO) team that could potentially save the lives of many children
and babies. ECMO is used when a patient has a life-threatening
cardiac or respiratory condition which prevents their heart or
lungs from working normally and is vital in helping to save the
lives of patients suffering such conditions.
The first transfer took place on Monday 10th December, when the
ECMO team was flown from Glenfield Hospital to Sheffield Children's
Hospital in order to give the potentially lifesaving treatment. The
transfer time in total was 34 minutes. If the team had gone by
road, it would have taken 1 hour and 23 minutes. This is a huge
saving in time and for babies suffering such serious illnesses, the
speed at which they receive the treatment is vital in helping to
save their life.
On Wednesday 12th December TCAA took an ECMO team from Leicester
Glenfield Hospital to Hull Royal Infirmary. The transfer time took
35 minutes, a journey that would have taken over two hours by land.
Again this drastic reduction in travel times can make an important
difference in the child's chances of survival and recovery as well
as easing the stress of the child's family.
Alex Toft, Director of Operations for TCAA, said: "We're extremely
excited and proud to announce that we have now started transferring
paediatric teams across England. We've been fundraising all year
for this and it's great to see the first potentially lifesaving
transfers run so smoothly.
"These are the first of many transfers that we will be carrying out
with the ECMO team. They currently do approximately 50 transfers a
year by road; that's at least 50 children that can receive
potentially lifesaving treatment a lot quicker and hopefully by
getting them there quicker it will help increase their availability
to do more of this fantastic work. In cases like this, where you
are dealing with our most vulnerable such as young babies, every
single minute can count.
"Glenfield Hospital is the only hospital in the country to provide
a mobile ECMO service for babies and children. Chris Harvey, ECMO
consultant at Glenfield Hospital, said: "Children requiring ECMO
are incredibly sick and to be able to reach them anywhere in the
country at such speed is incredibly valuable to us."