News>Wilford Hall team rushes to save gravely ill infant
Capt. Moayad Fowler, a registered nurse in the 59th Medical Wing, checks Jacob Rambish's vitals Feb. 22 in the neonatal intensive care unit in Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The 6-week-old infant was placed on heart/lung bypass equipment and transported to Wilford Hall Feb. 22 for advanced medical care. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sue Campbell)
2/22/2008 - LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- A team of Air Force and Army medical specialists from Wilford Hall Medical Center here flew to Greenville, S.C. Feb. 21 to transport a 6-week-old baby boy back to Wilford Hall for advanced medical care.
The 15-member critical care air transport team, which included neonatal and pediatric critical care physicians, pediatric surgeons, critical care nurses and respiratory therapists, flew to South Carolina on a C-130 Hercules with their battery-operated portable extra corporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, equipment.
An ECMO machine is a heart-lung bypass device which circulates and oxygenates the blood, giving diseased or poisoned lungs a chance to heal.
Six-week old Jacob Rambish was near death, suffering from viral pneumonia. His chances for survival were slim and hospital officials at Greenville Memorial contacted Wilford Hall officials asking for help, as they do not have ECMO capability.
The Air Force team flew to Greenville, operated on Jacob to place him on the ECMO equipment and transported him to Wilford Hall where he will remain on ECMO for 7 to 14 days.
"This is amazing that the Air Force would take the time to help my baby," said Jacob's mother, Amanda Robinson.
No other hospital has long-distance air-transportable ECMO capability. Wilford Hall staff place six to 12 patients on ECMO each year, and two to four require long-distance transport.
"These missions provide humanitarian assistance to the community and also maintain our team's capability to save children of military families who may be stationed in remote locations without access to ECMO," said Col. (Dr.) Robert DiGeronimo, chief of neonatology at Wilford Hall.