“She turned blue and I watched the life go out of her eyes, but thanks to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, she’s around today.”
A family is backing a campaign for a new helipad at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, after delays landing in Weston Park meant their air ambulance transfer beat road transport by just 10 minutes.
Ellena Kik was only a few months old when she stopped breathing on a family holiday at Centre Parcs in Sherwood Forest.
“She began coughing, choking and spluttering. I thought I knew what to do, so I took her onto the dining table and tried to restart her breathing again, but she didn’t,” said dad Matt, aged 40.
“She just turned blue and had a really distant look in her eyes. I watched the life go out of her eyes and the rest of the family was around me looking on. I just thought, ‘oh god, she’s gone’.”
Ellena has rare congenital conditions of her food pipe and airway that affect just one in 5,000 children.
She required intensive neo-natal care prior to surgery to correct the condition at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, which was performed within three days of her birth.
This also made it possible that she would stop breathing, so her parents had received resuscitation training.
A rescue breath from her dad finally brought Ellena back to life and paramedics arrived soon after.
Satisfied that Ellena was stable enough for transport, they recommended she was transferred by air ambulance to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
While four-month old Ellena travelled with her mum Genna in the helicopter, dad Matt drove through rush-hour traffic to Sheffield.
Due to delays, the air ambulance arrived just ten minutes earlier.
Genna, aged 37, said: “They just hovered over Weston Park and had to wait for anyone below to move a safe distance away. It was a really sunny day and the park was packed.
“I’ve no idea how long it was, but it felt like forever.”
Ellena was too small for the stretcher typically used to transport patients, so her mum had to carry the four-month-old in her arms.
They then had to wait for the green man to appear and the traffic lights to change, so they could run across the busy A57 into the emergency department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
The Children’s Hospital Charity have launched a £6m appeal to build a brand new helipad for Sheffield Children’s Hospital, reducing the delays for patients who need critical care as soon as possible.
Currently, air ambulances can’t land in the park in the dark, which limits their operation in winter.
The new helipad would ensure helicopters can land anytime, and electric heating on the pad will ensure ice and snow do not disrupt its use during periods of bad weather.
Thankfully, due to her parents’ intervention and the care she received, Ellena’s episode passed with no lasting effects.
“Very quickly she was in a fantastic mood again - she was white as a sheet, but happy and laughing like her normal self,” added Matt.
Despite the delays, the family - who live in Dore, Sheffield - remain grateful for the care Ellena received at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
“We’re constantly in awe at the level of care, they’re miracle workers,” said Genna.
“When Ellena was born, we were devastated to find she had such a rare condition.
“The doctor replied ‘we see it at Sheffield Children’s Hospital every six weeks, we can fix it”.
“They’re just incredible, the doctors and nurses never have too much time to look after you, make sure you understand everything and answer every question you could possibly have,” added Matt.
“We always know we’re going to be looked after.”
To find out how you can support the appeal for a new helipad and build a better future at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, visit www.tchc.org.uk.