George T’s Story
Within a few hours of being diagnosed with a serious heart condition, eight week old baby George was undergoing specialist lifesaving treatment at a hospital over 100 miles away from his home in Bideford, Devon.
It took the Children’s Air Ambulance just 26 minutes to fly him to the specialist cardiac unit at Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital.
“It would have been a very long and stressful journey by road which could have taken more than three hours. If George’s condition suddenly deteriorated during that time who knows how it may have ended,” says his Mum Janita.
She travelled with George in the helicopter on the same day as being told that her son needed to undergo urgent investigations into what doctors at the local hospital thought might be a heart murmur.
“The paediatric consultants at Barnstaple said that a transfer by air ambulance was considered the safest and quickest way of taking George to Bristol given his very young age and serious condition.”
“We were still trying to get our heads around George’s diagnosis, but then we met the pilots and they were so supportive and reassuring. We felt in such safe hands and knew that getting George to the treatment he needed was all that mattered,” explains Janita.
When the helicopter touched down in Bristol, George was taken for an echocardiogram and it confirmed he had severe Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Mitral Regurgitation. The muscles and valve in his heart were weak and it meant he couldn’t pump blood around his body.
George underwent further tests and X-Rays to try to determine the underlying cause of his condition. He was connected to several monitors and given medication.
“Thankfully George responded well to the treatment. He fed well and gained weight and was allowed to come home after a week in hospital. This was great news for us all, especially my other son Jack who had missed his new baby brother and his mummy, “says Janita.
Sadly, there is no cure for George’s condition so he will have regular check-ups throughout his life and will always be on medication.
“George is now a happy, smiling little boy and is developing his own personality. He is enjoying all the things that a baby of his age should and is loving spending time with his big brother.”
“You never know what is around the corner for your children as we found out with George. Without the amazing service provided by the Children’s Air Ambulance some youngsters might not get the lifesaving care they need quickly enough – and that doesn’t bear thinking about.”