Health Magazine

Tiny Babies

By Ambogirl @ambogirl1

Walking into a house to the sight of a neo-natal midwife giving assisted mouth-to-mouth ventilations to a premature baby, is really not what I want to see on a Monday afternoon, or any other time for that matter. Luckily (for me) this was the view of my paramedic colleague, not me. I was busy locating the paediatric bag. It was not in it’s normal place as this was a brand new vehicle and I had automatically gone to it’s usual ‘home’. Thankfully, it’s a piece of kit we don’t often require.

The call had been given as ‘premature baby, difficulty in breathing’. Further information supplied en route was ‘baby lethargic’. This I did not like the sound of, not one bit, and voiced this opinion to my crewmate whilst driving to the address. Then came the message ‘SATS 75%, baby 3lb 5oz’. To be honest, by now, I felt physically sick. I think my colleague felt the same as he asked me, ‘Would you like to be the paramedic today?’ No matter how skilled and experienced you are, this type of call you never want!

I walked into the property hot on the heels of my crewmate, clutching the paeds bag. I was met by a very distressed mum holding a toddler, and a midwife with quite possibly the smallest baby I had ever seen with my own eyes. My colleague had immediately produced the oxygen cylinder and begun wafting the tube under the baby’s nose. The patient was far too tiny for even our smallest oxygen masks. Within seconds the oxygen saturations were up to 95% We all breathed a temporary sigh of relief! Obviously this tiny living thing was in need of expert care. We agreed to ‘scoop & run’ (also known as ‘load & go’). Thankfully, relatives had arrived to take care of the toddler.

On board the ambulance we did not have a paediatric pulse oximeter (we aren’t supplied them) and the midwife wasn’t coming with us so we couldn’t borrow hers. My crewmate tried the standard probe on the whole of the baby’s tiny foot and it worked! Oxygen saturations were now up to 100% The relief was enormous and the patient now looked pink and healthy as opposed to the previous horrible shade of blue.

Nevertheless, rapid transport to hospital was still required, in case of sudden deterioration. Ever so slightly relieved to be driving, I quickly calculated the quickest, smoothest route (sat nav is prone to sending us on the narrowest route with the most road humps). On handover to the hospital staff the baby was still pink and alert and our outwardly visible calm nature (we are masters of disguise) had pacified mum, who was now much relieved and being treated to a cup of tea.

For us, a further huge sigh of relief, a quick tidy up of the back of the ambulance, before calling clear for our next job…

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