You gave Charlotte the Breath of Life!

May 12 2017 12:27pm
Donor-funded Jet Ventilator helped her survive a respiratory crisis.

Baby Charlotte Epp came into the world three-and-a-half months premature. Every system in her tiny body was underdeveloped, including her lungs. Charlotte could not have survived without the specialized care and technology made possible by you, our donors.

“The second Charlotte was born, she was in distress.” remembers Susan Epp, Charlotte’s grandmother. “Honestly, we really didn’t know if she’d make it.”

“With premature babies like Charlotte, the alveoli haven’t matured, so the normal exchange of gases can’t happen,” says Gary Stacey, Professional Practice Coordinator, Respiratory Therapy, BC Women’s Hospital’s Newborn ICU - Pictured with Charlotte at right.

To support her breathing, Charlotte was placed on a ventilator, a device that gently pulses oxygen into the lungs via an inserted breathing tube. However, after weeks on breathing support, a new problem emerged.

“As Charlotte got older, the alveoli in her lungs developed abnormally,” says Stacey, who cared for Charlotte during her crisis. “When this happens, conventional ventilation no longer works, so we had to try something else.”

Thanks to donors like you, and a special donation made by the Thomas Family, baby Charlotte had access to specialized respiratory technology called Jet Ventilation. It was critical in saving Charlotte’s life because it was the only thing that could deliver oxygen in the very tiny puffs her lungs could handle.

“Charlotte was one of the first babies that we put on the Jet Ventilator for this condition,” says Stacey. “She taught us that Jet Ventilation can be used for unique situations like this. We were amazed and overjoyed as we watched her go from pale to pink.”

Charlotte’s slow journey to recovery continued for many more weeks, but ultimately it was the Jet Ventilator that gave her the life-saving support she needed until her lungs were ready to breathe on their own.

And thanks to you, this special technology and respiratory expertise is there at BC Women’s when premature babies, like Charlotte, need it most.