When people tell stories about the care Texas Children’s provides, they often use the same word: miraculous. With the heroic actions of our Kangaroo Crew in two recent cases, it’s easy to see why.
The first story took place on August 7. The team in Texas Children’s Mission Control received a frantic call from a surgery center north of Houston.
“There was a very panicked voice on the other end,” said ETM dispatcher Amber Lieberman. “She said, ‘We need your team, we need blood and we need you now.’”
A 6-year-old patient had suffered a lacerated carotid artery during a routine outpatient procedure. The surgical team had applied pressure to stop the bleeding, but the patient had lost too much blood and there was no emergency blood on hand. Without immediate assistance, the child might die.
Mission Control immediately sprang into action. A Kangaroo Crew team at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands was dispatched to the patient. On the scene, the team swiftly assessed the situation and began preparing the patient for transport, taking special care to keep the patient as secure as possible since the team at the community surgery center was still applying pressure on the artery. One wrong move could mean disaster.
Meanwhile, Mission Control also dispatched the Kangaroo Crew from Texas Children’s medical center campus to take the emergency release blood to The Woodlands team. In a stunning display of coordination, Mission Control and the two teams orchestrated a hand-off of the blood just off Interstate 45 between The Woodlands and Houston. They planned down to the exact moment when each vehicle would arrive and also on which side of the highway they would meet. In the parking lot of an abandoned restaurant, the two teams connected almost simultaneously and the blood was handed off.
Once the patient was stable, the medical center campus Kangaroo Crew followed The Woodlands Kangaroo Crew to the Texas Medical Center in case support was needed during the drive. Mission Control constantly tracked the movements of each vehicle and coordinated our teams in the emergency center (EC) and operating room and interventional radiology (IR), providing constant updates on the patient’s condition and ETA.
When they arrived at the EC, Kangaroo Crew team members assisted the emergency staff until the patient was taken to IR. This is a story that could have had a much different ending.
“Because of the seamless coordination with Mission Control, it’s amazing what we can accomplish,” said Kangaroo Crew transport nurse Roma Frier. “It wouldn’t have happened like it did without the transfer center and the way it operates.”
Just over a week later, on August 16, the Kangaroo Crew was transporting a patient from another hospital in the Texas Medical Center to Texas Children’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). As they passed the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Michael Johnson, the EMT on the team, saw something startling at a nearby bus stop.
“There was an individual giving chest compressions to a man,” Johnson said. “I turned and yelled to the back, ‘We need to stop, I don’t think this guy’s breathing.’”
The Kangaroo Crew immediately stopped to assist. Members of the team sprinted to help and began CPR while another crew member stayed with the stabilized patient on board and contacted Mission Control, who alerted paramedics. Less than three minutes later, the Houston Fire Department (HFD) arrived on the scene and a unified command was initiated. HFD, assisted by the Kangaroo Crew, began administering advanced cardiac life support.
Within moments, the patient was revived.
As HFD and EMS prepared the cardiac arrest patient for transport to an adult hospital, the Kangaroo Crew proceeded to Texas Children’s NICU with our patient, who had been stabilized and monitored throughout the rescue.
This is another story that could have ended in tragedy. However, both the NICU patient and the gentleman are alive today, and the prognoses are excellent.
“This is a story that deserves celebration,” said Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark Wallace. “The heroes in the Kangaroo Crew and Mission Control are such a big part of this one amazing team. They are always running toward the problem, and they make such a huge difference here at Texas Children’s.”
Also awed by the heroic actions of the Kangaroo Crew that day was Craig Moreau, HFD captain and paramedic from Fire Station 33.
“I am convinced that the early decisive actions of the members of the Kangaroo Crew gave this patient the best possible chance for survival,” Moreau said. “If in the unfortunate event something drastic is to occur to me or any members of my family, I hope the Kangaroo Crew is nearby to assist. Their efforts went above and beyond the call of duty.”
The heroes on August 7 were:
Mona McPherson, Pediatric Medical Control
Amber Lieberman, Dispatch
Gloria White, Charge Nurse
Kangaroo Crew Transport Team 991 from The Woodlands
Adrian Gonzales, EMT
Shawnaka Holland, RN
Ryan Seaholm, RRT
Jacob Willits Martinez, Orientee
Kangaroo Crew Transport Team 992 from Main Campus
Ray Estlinbaum, RRT
Roma Frier, RN
Kim Karn, RN and Orientee
Michael Johnson, EMT
The heroes on August 16 were:
Kangaroo Crew Transport Team
Ashley Griffin, Orientee
Michael Johnson, EMT
Kristine Knight, RRT
Jennifer Rinaldo, RN
Click here to learn more about the Kangaroo Crew.
Click here to learn more about Mission Control.