Parents Niky and Ryan’s lives were turned upside down on the morning of 31st October 2019, as any parents’ worst nightmare became a reality. Their four-year-old daughter, Jasmine, had stopped breathing – she was unconscious suffering a respiratory arrest and in need of emergency care, fast.
GWAAC’s Critical Care Team were dispatched to the incident in Gloucestershire with Critical Care Doctor and Senior Consultant, Scott, Critical Care Doctor, Andrew, and Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care, Jack, arriving on scene in less than 20 minutes.
Jasmine was very unwell – she had stopped breathing and needed an emergency anaesthesia – an intervention that our specialist crew can deliver on scene. They put Jasmine into an induced coma, taking over her breathing and preventing any further complications, before airlifting her to Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital.
Jasmine’s mum, Niky, recalls: “By the time your team arrived I was crumbling, at a loss of what to do or what to expect. I will never forget Scott, Andrew and Jack’s reassurances to me. I knew we now also had Emergency Doctors onsite, trained in Paediatrics, and they had her, they had ‘this’. I felt complete trust in them. During the worst, most horrific episode that any parent could be in, I felt safe.”
Niky continued: “I will remember Scott talking to me for the rest of my life. The collaborative approach, communication, safety, checking and re-checking during fast paced treatment and decision making between teams was beyond what could be called perfect. Everything was co-ordinated and undertaken to ensure that Jasmine was alive, that she was stable and safe – and that she remained so.”
Jasmine spent almost two months in Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital, where she was diagnosed with a very rare syndrome, ROHHAD – of which there are only 12 cases in the UK and 100 worldwide. She has been described as a “whirlwind of positivity”, taking life each day as it comes and fighting on through her recent diagnosis.
“We hope with the expert team at Bristol Children’s Hospital that we are under, with their innovative ideas and dedication to making a difference that they will make steps forward with prognosis and in education to also help many others. They and we would not have this opportunity without you,” said Niky.
On 21st February, Jasmine was well enough to come along to our base with her family, meeting Critical Care Doctor Scott, and having a tour of the helicopter in which Jasmine was taken to hospital in. The day was an emotional one, not just for Jasmine’s family who got the chance to say thank you – but for our crew, who so rarely hear back or meet the patients they attend. Meeting former patients, like Jasmine, give the crew a stark reminder of the difference their work makes for families all across the region.
Niky said: “There is not a day that has gone by since where we have not thought of you all. You saved Jasmine’s life, and ours, that day. I very much hope that if life ever throws anything difficult at you that you can think of people like us, who you have saved, made the ultimate of differences to, and smile through any of it.
“For us life could have been over on Halloween. In the most awful, devastating situation you got to us and you took control. You saved Jasmine and gave her the opportunity to fight on through ROHHAD and to live. To have a life and to enjoy it. To embrace every minute and make a difference. We have no sadness over her diagnosis, only thanks that we are able to be on this journey together – through whatever that may be – and that’s because of you all. We can never thank you all enough for this.”
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only day that Jasmine needed our services. For many, needing an air ambulance crew just once in their lifetime is something no one expects, however, on 29th April this year, Jasmine experienced another arrest at home – receiving the care of our Critical Care Team once again. Jasmine continues to battle through her diagnosis, facing each day with strength and a smile, and is responding well to treatment suppressing ROHHAD which will help research for the future.