It was around midnight on Oct. 17, 2016 when Maria and David Guzman awoke to the sound of their son, Mateo, gasping for air over the baby monitor. They immediately rushed to his side and knew they had to get to the emergency room. At first, the young parents thought they could drive him themselves, but soon realized they needed to call 911.
“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare when you realize you have to call 911,” says David. “But, when your five-month-old baby is struggling to breathe, you do it without hesitation.”
Mathieu Leonard and Trisha Hanson of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrived within minutes. Mateo’s airway was closing due to a bad case of croup. Mathieu administered a dose of epinephrine to alleviate the swelling and continued to monitor him on the way to the Regina General Hospital (RGH).
"I was worried and Mathieu helped calm me down so that I could focus my energy on my son,” says Maria. “He and Trisha went above and beyond the call of duty. They are responsible for saving our baby’s life.”
Mateo is one of 225 cases of children under the age of three that EMS responded to in 2016. While emergency calls that involve sick or injured children often require a unique set of skills, the support provided by Hospitals of Regina Foundation (HRF) continues to make all the difference. Mathieu says he and his colleagues are fortunate to have the tools they need to help save lives.
Our ambulances are equipped with pediatric house kits that are colour-coded to a patient’s weight. In an emergency, they ensure we have properly sized equipment and medication dosing ready,” he says. “The Foundation has also provided us with mobile data terminals that allow paramedics to communicate with dispatchers. In Mateo’s case, the call came from a new residential development. The information passed on allowed us to get to his home quickly and efficiently.
Once at the hospital, an emergency room physician took over. Mateo would spend two days in the pediatric unit before being discharged to recover at home. It was a stressful time for Maria and David, but they took comfort in knowing their son was receiving the best possible care.
We were fortunate that a great team was looking after our son,” says David. “It is heartwarming to watch complete strangers treat your child as if they are one of their own. Everyone was so caring and they were constantly checking in on him, providing us with regular updates.
Throughout his 10-year career, Mathieu has seen firsthand how patients, like Mateo, benefit from the support of the Foundation and its donors.
“Supporting HRF is about ensuring we have the best health care possible, in this community, close to our families and loved ones,” he says. “As a donor myself, I am happy to know the funds I have given likely benefitted a friend or neighbour.”
David agrees that our donors are special people.
Often times you don’t get to see where your money goes or who it helps,” he says. “We have a happy, energetic eight-month-old with us today because you chose to support our hospitals. This experience has reaffirmed just how important the Foundation is to this community.