If something serious happened to your newborn baby that threatened their life, you would want the very best and most experienced doctor working to make them better. Because of Avera eCARE Services, specialists at Avera McKennan provide 24-hour access for other healthcare workers in the Avera Network in rural areas. We went to Aberdeen to meet a family who says their baby is alive because of those services.
When Tony and Katie Larson from Gettysburg came to Avera St. Luke's BirthPlace in Aberdeen to have their third child they never dreamed the celebration the day after he was born would turn in to a life or death situation.
Katie says, "It was the most frightening moment of my life."
Katie and Tony remember it like it was yesterday. It was 5:00 a.m. January 12th, 2010 and Aiden was crashing. Nurse Anesthetist Jennifer Timm was on duty at the time and rushed to the nursery.
CRNA Timm says, "The baby was in respiratory distress so they called for a STAT intubation and what that means is we needed to place a breathing tube in for the baby because he was really struggling to breath at the time. These little guys aren't just like small adults. It's a completely different process when they are newborns of how everything works. It was really scary keeping him going and keeping his oxygen levels up. He was breathing so fast and there was so much distress. It was very scary."
Katie says, "In the back of my mind I was thinking I can't go home to my other two kids and tell them they don't have their baby brother."
To make matters worse, it was too foggy for Careflight to transport Aiden to Avera McKennan's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Sioux Falls. A specialty Avera St. Luke's doesn't have. Luckily, they are hooked up to eCARE. With a touch of a button, a neonatalogist at Avera McKennan is on this screen. Thanks to this technology, they can see and hear everything that's going as if they were there even though they are hundreds of miles away.
CRNA Timm says, "It's such an asset to have this. It's always nice to have another thought process. What are we not doing? What do we need to do next? It's very helpful."
Katie says, "Everybody did such a wonderful job. We are just very thankful to have him. He is a joyous miracle."
When the fog finally cleared Aiden was airlifted to Avera McKennan where he spent 24 days in the NICU. He was diagnosed with PPHN or Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns, but he is doing great now. Mom and Dad credit the great care they got from the superb staff in two hospitals working together as one team.