By George Larson
This year’s Christmas card from Jeff Tolbert, president of air medical transport firm AirMed of Birmingham, Ala., tells the story of Alexis Cormier, a little girl born with a rare congenital heart defect called HLHS, for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. By the age of three years, Alexis had received her third surgery, and her heart was deemed damaged beyond repair. The tiny little girl was placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, which is an external device to remove carbon dioxide from the blood and infuse it with oxygen in the absence of a functioning heart.
Doctors at the Memphis, Tenn. hospital where Alexis was receiving ECMO 24/7 asked that she be moved to Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville. AirMed’s modifed Hawker fleet is one of few in the world capable of executing such a complex patient transfer, and when it was determined that Alexis should be moved again to Birmingham, Ala. for a procedure to provide her with a Berlin heart, AirMed again provided the lift.
The Berlin heart, a device operated by a laptop computer, pumps blood to the lungs and the rest of the body when the heart can’t. Alexis will eventually receive a heart transplant. Until then, she will get the best medical care and the support of specially modified business aircraft that save lives around the world every day.
Happy holidays to Alexis and her family–and to the AirMed family as well.
Source: BUSINESS AVIATION NOW (AVIATION WEEK)