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Mission Monday – Our heli heads up to the north east

Another Monday and another life-saving mission update. We are always striving to help sick and injured children across the UK putting their lives above all.

Last week out pilots were called out to a poorly patient in the north east of England who needed an emergency transfer. Due to the traffic, the journey would have taken over six hours but luckily our helicopter was able to get them to the care they needed in just 32 minutes.

The Children’s Air Ambulance is dedicated to helping children all across the UK get to the care and support they need. Fast. In fact, we can get children to the care they need 4 times faster than if they were to go by road.

We help children like little Elsie. Elsie has a congenital heart disorder and desperately needed specialist surgery when we were called in to fly her from North Devon District Hospital to Bristol Children’s Hospital.

The mission took about 30 minutes by air compared to the two hours it would have taken to cover 100 miles by road. And that made a huge difference.

When she arrived she was rushed into theatre in paediatric intensive care to have an emergency septostomy. This stabilised her condition. Two days later she had complex five and a half hour open heart surgery to correct a problem with the heart’s structure called Transposition of the Great Arteries.

Her dad, Damian said: “When the WATCh team came down they were hopefully going to transfer her straight back up if she was stabilised but when they started to put a feeding tube in she was gasping for air and it took them four hours to stabilise her enough to fly. It was getting close to being dark but the pilot was keen to take off and she probably wouldn’t have made it if we hadn’t.’’

Once at Bristol she immediately had surgery. For Damian, from Cornwall, this was a time he will never forget.

Thanks to the amazing effort of the surgeons, the WATCh team and the Children’s Air Ambulance, Elsie survived and has made an amazing recovery. She is now a cheeky little growing girl and her parent’s couldn’t be happier.

Damian Inch believes our transfer saved his little girl’s life: “She would’ve died – no two ways about it. Our family would’ve just been lost – I don’t know how you’d come back from something like that.”

We are the only helicopter emergency transfer service in the country dedicated to children.

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