“It was such an ordinary day.” Britta Ann Meadows describes the morning her 22-month old son, Joshua, was finishing his breakfast. “I was tidying up the kitchen and turned my back. In that second, he’d reached from his highchair and pulled our water distiller down on top of himself.”
“The bitter irony–the one thing we do to make us healthier harmed my baby; and I was so sure he would not be able to reach it or the cord.” But reach it he did. Joshua suffered third-degree burns on more than 30 percent of his body from the boiling water.
In a fog of disbelief, shock, guilt, and the terror a parent feels when their child is suffering, Britta Ann and her husband David were told by first responders that their baby needed to be flown by helicopter from their small central Kansas town to a bigger hospital in Kansas City. “And I couldn’t even go with him…they had to fly him out by himself in the helicopter.”
Once at the Kansas City hospital, the Meadows waited to see their baby and to hear what the doctors would tell them. “I was pretty sure I was calmly listening, but it caught me by surprise when they said ‘Cincinnati.’ It seemed matter of fact, but then, wait…Ohio?? Away from our home, my family?”
The best course of treatment for Joshua was at the renowned Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, and the short one-hour flight could not have seemed more distant to the distraught family.
“AirMed’s compassion, respect, and complete ability to care for my child was something I will never forget.” Mrs. Meadows continued, “Realizing I really had no choice–we had to do what was best for Joshua, bravely and trusting God, no matter where that took us and that’s what I wanted to do–I quickly adjusted to another level of motherhood: I had better be able to stay with my child. Before I even asked, they answered my question; yes, one parent could accompany Joshua on the AirMed plane.”
The small amount of relief available in that moment flooded through, knowing she would not be separated from Joshua again. All of the flight details were coordinated for the family by AirMed and the hospital staffs. “I was so thankful. I would not have known where to begin!”
“That night, the longest night of my life, the whole AirMed crew worked efficiently and calmly doing their jobs even among my constant questions. I rode on a stretcher for the first time in my life. It seemed the easiest way to calmly transport Joshua, and to hold my baby was exactly what we both needed. AirMed’s compassion, respect, and complete ability to care for my child was something I will never forget.”
–Britta Ann, Joshua’s Mom
After landing from the medical flight, the Meadows traveled by ground ambulance to Cincinnati Shriners, and the AirMed team led them to their room to say goodbye. “I felt like they were friends not strangers. They were a lifeline, and it was scary to say goodbye. But they had done their part, and now it was time for the Shriners doctors and nurses to do theirs.” AirMed’s Family Plans ensure the highest level of comfort.
Mark Washam, director of clinical services at Cincinnati Shriners, commented, “We are always extremely pleased to work with AirMed because we know our patients will be given the highest level of care on their way to us.”
Joshua underwent two successful skin graft surgeries and was soon on his way back home to Kansas where he would continue his recovery and celebrate his 2nd Birthday.
“I was (and am) so grateful for AirMed and the team we had that night. They were the link from Kansas to Ohio who got Joshua there quickly and safely, while reassuring a confused, scared mother who was wracked with guilt…Why had I turned my back? Why had this happened, why, why? They helped me feel in control, assured, confident, and free of guilt. Truly, they helped me set me back on my track of motherhood.”
Now back home in Kansas and almost fully healed, Joshua has adjusted well to his ongoing therapy of massages and stretches after his surgeries. He remains eager to learn and spends his time smiling, playing, laughing and giving hugs to all the new people he meets. “Nothing phases him apparently. He is back to his old self–except new and improved,” says his mother.
“AirMed was a wonderful gift from God, a lifeline and reassurance of hope during our family’s most traumatic experience,” Britta Ann Meadows concluded. “Thank you, AirMed!”