Bengaluru: Rainbow Children's Hospital achieved another milestone when it airlifted a critically-ill six-month-old infant from Raipur to Bengaluru.

The child was suffering from Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).

With this, the hospital successfully completed its very first air-ambulance sortie.

With a team led by Dr Rakshay Shetty, Head of Pediatric Intensive Care Services, Marathahalli, the infant was given necessary, timely care and attention to stabilize her condition and ensure a smooth transition.

According to the doctors, the infant started experiencing diarrhoea while the family was visiting Raipur from Canada. However, the situation became complicated as this diarrhoeal disease escalated to rapidly worsening kidney functions.

Understanding the significance of time, the expert team of doctors and staff at Rainbow Children's Hospital in Marathahalli quickly responded to the parents' plea to airlift the infant.

Diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

The infant was diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a severe medical condition characterized by high blood pressure and kidney failure.

While initial medical support was provided at a local private hospital in Raipur, the critical progression of the case necessitated specialized medical interventions such as hemodialysis and plasma exchange therapy, especially in the case of infants.

What is HUS?

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome is a condition in which patients experience progressive kidney failure, along with symptoms such as blood-stained urine, body swelling due to fluid accumulation, high blood pressure, breathing difficulties, seizures, and a sudden drop in haemoglobin and platelet levels.

When these symptoms occur together, they can lead to various complications and become life-threatening within a short period unless immediate medical attention is sought.

How challenging was airlifting

"Transporting an unstable infant with rapidly fluctuating blood pressure and compromised breathing due to excessive fluid in the body is difficult even by road transport. Air travel introduces changes in ambient pressures, which can profoundly affect the human body. In a critically ill child, this can lead to rapid deterioration. Additionally, a fixed-wing aircraft cannot be stopped midway and parked by the side for immediate assistance. It was challenging to safely transport the child in a confined space, far from any help.", said Dr Deepak Ramesh, Consultant-Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Rainbow Children's Hospital.

Fortunately, the child only required monitoring during transport since the transport team of Dr. Anupam Jaiswal and Veeresh Tuttupad had stabilized the patient at the local hospital in Raipur before embarking on the flight.

Prepared for any exigency that might arise, the medical professionals diligently continued the ongoing treatment without necessitating additional support during the flight.

Although the case presented multiple challenges, the team addressed logistical issues, such as coordinating with the air ambulance team, establishing communication protocols; and preparing and modifying equipment for air transport. Every detail was meticulously planned and executed by the hospital's team of experts to ensure a safe and smooth flight.

"We had to prepare and pack delicate equipment such as ventilators, ultrasound machines, monitors, along with all the medications, ensuring their safe transportation on a commercial airplane," said Dr Deepak, a specialist on the team.

Moreover, connectivity to Raipur is limited, and the earliest available flight was at 7:30 am. So we had to prepare everything in advance on a Saturday night, ensure compatibility of all equipment and connections for use inside the aircraft, and be prepared for an early morning take-off the next day.

The infant is currently in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Rainbow Children's Hospital in Marathahalli, receiving specialized care from the PICU and Pediatric Nephrology teams.

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