Family says boy left brain damaged after STARS air ambulance flight
Published Wednesday, May 29, 2013 4:36PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, May 29, 2013 5:32PM CST
The family of a two-year-old boy says he can no longer walk, talk or recognize his relatives after a STARS air ambulance trip from Brandon to Winnipeg.
A seizure on May 2 sent Morgan Moar Campbell to Brandon Hospital. Without the equipment needed to diagnose him, Morgan was put on a STARS air ambulance flight to Winnipeg.
Doctors induced a coma and inserted a tube so he could breathe.
The family said a STARS representative told them Morgan is brain damaged because his breathing tube came out sometime during the trip to Winnipeg.
“He’s here (in hospital) because he was deprived of oxygen for that amount of time,” said Blair Campbell, Moar’s father, on May 29.
Family said the boy was previously an energetic, smiling child.
“They don’t know what they took from us,” said Blair.
STARS is conducting an internal investigation to find out what happened. The medical director said staff are with a patient during the entire flight and during the drive by ambulance from the airport to the hospital.
“In an ICU, the sophistication of the procedures has an element of risk, and when you're doing that in the back of a helicopter or the back of an ambulance, that adds an element of risk as well,” said Dr. Doug Martin, STARS medical director.
Morgan’s family celebrated his second birthday in the hospital with heavy hearts.
The toddler is off life support and is breathing on his own, but not well.
“I know they’re there to protect us but something happened in that ambulance. Why is it so hard to tell us?” asked Bonnie Moar, Morgan’s aunt.
The family wants to meet with STARS again to get answers.
STARS’ inquiry into the incident could take several months to complete.
Manitoba Health is also reviewing the case.
STARS first provided service in Manitoba to deal with emergencies during the flood of 2009. The service expanded in following years.
Because STARS is a relatively recent addition to emergency services in Manitoba, there are not yet helipads at hospitals. The helicopters have to land at an airport and an ambulance then drives patients to hospitals.
Winnipeg will likely get a hospital helipad next year. It was supposed to be ready this year, but was delayed because of a fire in March at Health Sciences Centre.
- with a report from Alesia Fieldberg