September 26, 2022

Rare-disease patient transport by Gamma Air Medical

Air Ambulance transfers don’t always come easy. Some cases involve difficult and rare diseases. In one of our missions, we faced a rare medical syndrome developed in a healthy 4-year-old girl from Albania, that of Hemolytic Syndrome HUS.

The young girl was admitted to the Children’s Hospital in Tirana with hypogastric pain, vomiting and accompanying fever. The initial diagnosis was acute appendicitis and she was operated for surgical removal of the appendix. However after two days, the clinical picture of the little girl worsened with an episode of abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, acute renal failure, thrombocytopenia and hemolytic anemia. A diagnosis of typical HUS was made, and the child underwent repeated hemodialysis. During the second week of her hospitalization the disease rapidly progressed to multiple organ failure (MOF), including paralytic ileus, pancreatitis, hepatitis, tonic-clonic convulsions, coma, and ARDS, accompanied by hemodynamic instability and extreme leukocytosis. The child was intubated and the treating medical team decided the air transfer of the child to a specialized intensive care unit in Italy due to the impossibility of plasmapheresis and specialized treatment in Tirana.

The air ambulance transport was performed by Gamma Air Medical and as this was a rather severe case for immediate response, the team immediately studied the complexed case and started working on the parameters of the mission. The medical staff consisted of a Thoracic surgeon, a Pediatric Anesthesiologist and a Registered Nurse. After thoroughly studying the labs of the patient, the plan was decided on the safe and swift transport of the intubated child. Throughout the flight, the child was closely monitored and was successfully transferred to the specialized intensive care unit, where significant improvement was observed after plasmapheresis and continuous venous hemodialysis.

Studying the cases closely and choosing the right medical staff is the safe procedure of undertaking such a difficult task and making a successful mission.