Home arrow Health & HIV/AIDS arrow Urgent appeal for Baby Sergio answered

Urgent appeal for Baby Sergio answered

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

What began as an urgent, yet seemingly impossible appeal for a very sick ten-month-old baby boy, has become a touching story of a few concerned citizens and two emergency medical teams, Netcare 911 and MedAir, coming together to ensure that Baby Sergio Amaro De Sousa gets the necessary medical treatment.

On Friday, 13 September, at 11:42 am Tyron Ross posted a heartfelt plea on Avcom, a forum for pilots and aviation enthusiasts, asking if anyone could assist in transporting little Sergio from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Sergio was recovering from a recent brain operation when one of the two shunts his Cape Town neurosurgeon had placed in multiloculated cysts in his brain became blocked. Only the neurosurgeon at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town could remove the shunts but Baby Sergio was in Johannesburg. 

A premature baby, little Sergio was severely compromised at birth with multiple complications dogging him for most of his young life.

Flying to Cape Town on a commercial flight was out of the question, as he needed to be flown in a specialised medical evacuation (medivac) aircraft where the pressure on his brain could be kept constant. But Sergio’s parents simply didn’t have the funds to pay for such a flight, hence Tyron Ross’s urgent appeal on Avcom.

“We were told about the critical request by Richard Maier, whose King Air 200 aircraft we often make use of for patient transport in medical emergencies. Mr Maier had offered his aircraft for the mercy mission but he needed a medical crew and equipment. When we heard about little Sergio and the urgent medical attention he needed, we just couldn’t say no,” says Craig Grindell, chief operating officer of Netcare 911. MedAir also came on board and offered their catering services and operational staff. Within a matter of hours after the message was first posted on Avcom, everything had been arranged for Sergio to be taken to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.  

Netcare 911 transported baby Sergio by ambulance from Netcare Clinton Hospital in Alberton to Lanseria Airport, where the plane and Netcare 911 emergency medical services personnel and equipment were waiting for him. After an approximately two-and-a-half hour flight, Sergio landed safely at Cape Town International Airport where a Netcare 911 team was waiting to take him to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.   

“This is a great illustration of how individuals and companies can pull together within a matter of hours and truly make a difference. Our Netcare 911 crew, the MedAir team and individuals like Tyron Ross and Richard Maier did not hesitate to assist this baby when asked. Netcare 911 is honoured to have been a part of this team effort and wishes Sergio and his family all the best for his recovery,” Grindell concludes.

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