A TODDLER has been introduced to the aircrew who flew him for specialist care when he developed breathing problems.
Freddie Stott, two, was airlifted by the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) from West Cumberland Hospital to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle on Easter Sunday.
Freddie’s illness started on the Saturday night whilst at a party with his family, who are from Whitehaven. As the night progressed, he started coughing which progressively worsened.
The next day, his parents, Meagan Rigg, 26, and Des Stott, 34, took him to hospital to get checked out as his breathing and chest problems had deteriorated further.
Miss Rigg said: “We knew he was going to be bad this time, the way he was coughing, it just wasn’t right.”
GNAAS doctor, Mike Davison, happened to be on shift in West Cumberland Hospital accident and emergency ward on the day. He decided that Freddie needed specialist paediatric care and therefore alerted the GNAAS airbase in Langwathby near Penrith, for a potential hospital transfer.
Doctor Andrew Barrington, the GNAAS doctor who was on-board the aircraft for the transfer, said: “Mike knew what he was doing. He made the right call at the right time and instigated the transfer that was so important to the patient.”
The charity’s Pride of Cumbria aircraft arrived at the hospital at around 5pm to transfer Freddie to the RVI.
Miss Rigg said: “The poor boy had gone downhill really fast. Within 24 hours he went from being normal to being in a serious condition. He hated having all of the tubes attached to him when the doctors and paramedics were treating him.
“When we found out he was going to the RVI, it sunk in that his condition was a lot worse than other times that he had been poorly.
“It was horrible for him and made worse because when kids are really poorly, they just can’t tell you what exactly is wrong.”
The flight to the RVI took 23 minutes. The same journey would have taken around two hours and twenty minutes by road.
Thanks to the treatment Freddie received before, during and after the transfer, he made a full recovery within 12 hours of arriving at the RVI. He was back up on his feet and running around the ward the next day.
After visiting the GNAAS airbase, Miss Rigg said: “GNAAS was excellent, and it really is a great service to have. We hope we won’t have to meet these guys again, no offence of course.”
Freddie said: “The air ambulance was awesome.”