They’re known as the Infant Transport Team (ITT), the specialized paramedics who stabilize premature or critically ill babies from around BC and then safely transport them to BC Women’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). But to Fort St. John resident Sarah Thom, they will always be angels, especially when she looks at the miracle that is her six-year-old daughter, Eryana.
Six years ago, not long after surviving a life-threatening case of the H1N1 virus, a pregnant Sarah went into premature labour at just 28 weeks. She delivered Eryana by emergency C-section at the hospital in Fort St. John. However, her baby was in life-threatening respiratory distress. Sarah was told that to survive Eryana needed the specialized care and equipment available only at BC Women’s Newborn ICU in Vancouver. The hospital immediately called the ITT.
On standby around the clock and with specially designed and equipped jets, helicopters and ambulances to transport their tiny patients, the ITT arrived quickly, accompanied by a NICU doctor from BC Women’s. Eryana received vital life-support in a specially equipped incubator – recently upgraded by your donations – during the flight to Vancouver.
“It was like angels coming to get her,” says Sarah. “They took the time to explain everything to me. And before they left, one of the paramedics brought her to me in the mobile incubator and said I could touch her.
“I said, ‘Goodbye,’ and he said, ‘Don’t say goodbye, say I’ll see you when I’m feeling better.’”
The next day, Sarah learned that one of the paramedics had stayed with Eryana until the wee hours of the morning because there was no family to be with her.
Four days later, when Sarah was well enough to travel to BC Women’s and hold Eryana for the first time, she was touched to find Eryana’s baby toquewith a small angel brooch at her bedside.
“To this day, I don’t know for sure who put it there,” says Sarah. “But I think I can guess.”
Written by Helena Bryan
Photography by Ashley Alexandra Photography