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EMS team gives baby a second chance at life

Senior Airman Lucas Reaume, lead medic, and his team recently responded to a priority one at the base child development center and helped save a two-month old infant that was experiencing respiratory distress at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Reaume created an artificial airway by improvising an adult size-nasopharyngeal airway to fit in infant’s tiny nasal cavity. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Michael Ellis)

Senior Airman Lucas Reaume, lead medic, and his team recently responded to a priority one at the base child development center and helped save a two-month old infant that was experiencing respiratory distress at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Reaume created an artificial airway by improvising an adult size-nasopharyngeal airway to fit in infant’s tiny nasal cavity. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Michael Ellis)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The call came in. A parent’s greatest fear and a situation emergency crews hope they never have to encounter became a reality.

It was a little past noon when the call was dispatched from the 9-1-1 operator. Seconds later the team grabbed their gear and arrived on scene within two minutes. The years of training of a group of emergency medical service personnel was put to the test as a lifeless little body lay on a table in front of them.

Five paramedics from the 59th Medical Wing responded to a priority one emergency at the Gateway Child Development Center. A two-month-old infant was in respiratory distress and had been unresponsive for four minutes when the emergency crew arrived.

Shortly after being fed, the infant experienced an apparent life-threatening event (ALTE) and began having severe difficulty breathing and increased oral secretions.

“At first it was hectic,” said Senior Airman Lucas Reaume, 59th MDW lead paramedic. “Inside you’re freaking out but on the outside you have to appear calm. Once we showed up, it was game on and you rely on your training. Everyone knew their role, so we focused on whatever needed to get done for the patient.”

The infant was too small for the gurney, so Reaume sat the baby in his lap as the team suctioned out the airway, provided oxygen with a bag valve mask and placed an IV line.

Breathing was intermittent. The baby would breathe for 30 seconds and then stop breathing for almost a minute. In order to establish an artificial airway, Reaume took an adult size-nasopharyngeal airway, measured and cut it to fit in the infant’s tiny nasal cavity.

By the time the child arrived at the nearest pediatric emergency room, he regained resuscitation.

Due to the swift response and quick thinking of the medics to provide critical, life-saving care, the infant made a full recovery and was soon released from the hospital.

Reaume praised the child development center staff for their attentiveness and speed in recognizing the urgent need for help. Oftentimes when infants experience ALTEs they may appear as if they’re simply sleeping.

“We’re thankful how smooth everything went,” said Vina Stroud, assistant director of the child development center. “From the time I first saw him and immediately called 9-1-1, to when the fire department and EMS crew showed up, it was almost like a divine intervention how everyone came together so quickly to provide him the care he needed.”

The 59th MDW’s emergency medical response teams are the busiest in the Department of Defense. Most bases average 200 calls per year. The teams here average more than 4,000.

Being ready for any medical emergency is what the EMS team is trained to do and every time they put on their uniform they are ready to handle any medical emergency. A baby boy named Isaiah now has a second chance at life thanks to the group of Airmen at the Wilford Hall Urgent Care Center waiting for the next call for help to come in.
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