Hometown: Olds, AB
At 23-months of age, Abby developed a bit of a cough but her parents weren’t worried until she became short of breath. At that point, her mom Lisa took her to the Olds Hospital where it was thought she might have pneumonia.
Abby’s illness occurred in November 2009 when concerns about the H1N1 virus were high, so with the Olds Hospital being full, she was taken by ground ambulance to the Red Deer Hospital.
During the night, Abby’s condition worsened and STARS was called to transport her to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. Although Abby had been vaccinated, she had developed H1N1 before the vaccination was able to take effect.
While Abby’s parents drove to Calgary, they watched the red helicopter fly over them and worried about their daughter’s condition.
“It was pretty scary,” said Lisa. “Any time you see the helicopter, you worry that something serious has happened.” Abby was intubated by the STARS crew when they arrived in Red Deer, and she remained intubated for four more days in Calgary. She spent another night in the children’s hospital, then one more in Red Deer before being sent home with a clean bill of health.
Follow up visits and x-rays determined that Abby was back in good health. She enjoyed her second birthday party in December that year, and it was a particularly special day for her whole family!