(Toronto, September 6, 2015) – Several news crews were waiting when the Fox Flight Lear-35 air ambulance touched down at Teeterboro airport outside New York just after 2:00 p.m. on September 6. The successful intercontinental transfer of the tiny patient on board marked the end of a harrowing ordeal for the Spratt family of Jackson, N.J., that attracted national media attention in the United States.
”They are so delicate and have to be monitored constantly for any signs of issues like respiratory stress, drops in circulation and dehydration. But in cases like this we use a two-person in-flight medical team that includes a physician who has specific experience dealing with preemies.David FoxPresident
“Our jets are fully equipped to deal with high-risk patients of all kinds, so this is really nothing new for us,” explained Fox Flight president David Fox. “This has been a stressful experience for everyone involved, and certainly not the way you’d like to welcome a new baby into the world. We are just happy we were able to get the family home.”
When Fred and Kim Spratt embarked on a short, two-week “babymoon” vacation in early May they had no way of knowing they were beginning an emotionally draining journey that would end up lasting more than four months. Twenty-three weeks pregnant with twins at the time of her departure, Kim Spratt had been assured by her doctor that she was safe to travel. The trip went as planned as the couple visited the cities of Barcelona, Grenada and Seville in Spain, but things took an unexpected turn when they reached Lisbon, Portugal, their last scheduled stop before heading home.
On May 9, 13 weeks short of her due date, Kim went into premature labour and had to be rushed to hospital. Early the next day she delivered her twins: a boy, Hudson, weighing a scant one pound, 12 ounces; and a girl, Hayden, weighing just one pound, seven ounces. The babies were far too small and weak to leave the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital, so the Spratts had no choice but to remain at a hotel in Lisbon until the twins were stable enough to contemplate moving them back to the United States. Sadly, baby Hudson experienced complications and survived just over two weeks, passing away on May 24. Unfortunately, the Spratt’s ordeal was still far from over.
By June baby Hayden had stabilized and gained some weight, but she was still far too delicate to travel home to New Jersey via commercial airline. Although the Spratt’s travel insurance company was covering the cost of baby Hayden’s medical care and the couple’s accommodations in Lisbon, the company informed the Spratts that the company would not cover the cost of the air ambulance transfer required by the baby, estimated in excess of $50,000. This meant the Spratts were stranded in Portugal until such time as they could raise the money for the air ambulance flight or until the baby was stable enough to travel commercially.
Family and friends back in New Jersey immediately set up an online GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds to get the Spratts home as soon as possible, which sparked an outpouring of public support for the family as well as fierce criticism of the insurance company. The case quickly drew the attention of local media in the New York-New Jersey area and the national media soon picked up the story. Along with regular TV news updates on WABC and Fox News, the Spratt’s travel nightmare received feature coverage in both People magazine and USA Today. Eventually state and federal politicians from New Jersey added their voices to the chorus of criticism leveled at the insurance company. In early September the company relented, and Fox Flight was contracted to perform the high-risk transfer.
View news report at the following link: http://abc7ny.com/family/family-stuck-in-portugal-after-delivering-babies-returns-home-to-new-jersey/972256/
“Moving a premature baby is a very complex procedure at any time, but an international overseas transfer is that much more challenging,” explained Fox. “They are so delicate and have to be monitored constantly for any signs of issues like respiratory stress, drops in circulation and dehydration. But in cases like this we use a two-person in-flight medical team that includes a physician who has specific experience dealing with preemies.”
During the flight the baby was housed in a specially built “baby-pod” isolette that provides the same controlled environment found in a neonatal intensive care unit in a hospital, with constantly maintained temperature, humidity and oxygen supply. Due to range limitations, the 3,600 mile flight had to be conducted in three legs, with the plane making stops in the Azores and in Newfoundland before proceeding to New Jersey. Once back in the States, baby Hayden was transported by ground ambulance to a neonatal intensive care unit in a local hospital, when she will stay until she gains more weight and is finally ready to head home with her parents for good.
About Fox Flight
Founded in 1996, Fox Flight Inc. is a Canadian air ambulance company providing international, 24-hour, emergency medical transport, bed-to-bed stretcher evacuation and onboard patient transfer services on commercial flights. Fox Flight has its head office and hangar facilities in Toronto. The company employs a staff of fully licensed physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and paramedics as well as highly experienced pilots and aviation maintenance technicians. Fox Flight’s fleet of dedicated, fixed-wing air ambulances consists of specially configured Lear 35A and 36A jets equipped with the latest in advanced intensive care medical technology. Fox Flight maintains full global EURAMI accreditation.
Fox Flight Inc.
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