Vi pubblichiamo di seguito la traduzione dell’articolo relativo al trasferimento del neonato da Lome’ a Tunisi apparso di recente sul nostro blog:
How to cross Africa, from the city of Lome’ in Togo to the city of Tunis, with a stopover in Tamanrasset in Algeria, with a premature baby patient. It was a difficult mission for the pilots, the doctor and the nurse, but despite the serious patient condition, the mission ended up in a positive outcome.
His name is Elias and it is a premature baby born on the 35th week. His condition appeared very serious at first sight. His life was in danger, it would have been so even in a modern European hospital and consequently it was even more so in a small hospital in the African state of Togo.
For this reason, Elias’ parents, who lived in Togo for work-related reasons but hailed from Northern Africa, down but not downhearted, immediately looked for a way to transfer their child in Tunisia, exactly in the main hospital in the city of Tunis.
The transfer by means of a modern jet requires at least six flight hours, but the unstable health condition besetting the small patient made the trip feasibility very uncertain.
It was at this point that Elias’ father came in contact with Air Medical’s operations centre. A medical team immediately contacted by phone the doctors of the hospital in Togo in order to be informed about the clinical information and assess any complications due to transport.
The first phone call with the head physician of the gynaecological clinic who was at that moment taking care of mother and child pointed out that the only chance of survival for the baby was to transfer it to a more specialized and better equipped facility.
In the meantime the logistics and operational company staff was engaged in planning the flight plan with all the necessary authorizations, identifying the city of Tamanrasset in Algeria as a forced staging area, where the Cessna Citation could be refuelled before going on in the mission.
In just a few hours everything was ready. After the usual pre-flight briefing among medical crew, pilots and Operations Manager, the Cessna Citation took off from Milan Linate to Lome’, Togo’s capital city.
The next day at dawn Air Medical’s resuscitation doctor and nurse were loading the baby on board the aircraft. The baby patient was screened out by a brand new incubator by Burke & Burke and accompanied by both parents visibly worried.
The patient breathed by itself, it was slightly hypotensive but all in all stable. It had frequent apnoeas while breathing but the medical staff chose not to proceed with tracheal intubation, though.
Since the space inside the fuselage was more than enough and the medical equipment was ready for use, they would have been able to proceed with this operation in case of need, if the situation worsened. Luckily this deterioration never occurred for the entire duration of the flight.
The baby was effectively delivered to the colleagues of the hospital in Tunis in stable and decent clinical condition.
From Air Medical’s side we would like once again to think about how often relatives or patients themselves are likely to give up long transfers. And when the patient to be carried is a baby, one is led to believe that it might not withstand travel stress (even if on the contrary many surveys show the extreme endurance and adaptability of those tiny little bodies to various environmental stresses). Today modern equipment, the competence of the doctors and faster and faster aircraft guarantee medical flights (including neonatal transports) which were unthinkable until a few years ago.
For the record, after a fortnight little Elias is fine and has overcome the most dangerous and worrisome phase. The Tunisian doctors are optimistic about his path to recovery.