Baby girl with seizures airlifted 150 miles due to shortage of beds at Houston hospital
The baby has made “an incredible recovery,” said Dr Dominic Lucia, pediatric emergency physician and chief medical officer at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center – Temple, where the child was transported on Thursday.
“She doesn’t need a respirator anymore. She doesn’t have one right now … and she’s resting with mom. She looks fine.”
The child, Ava Amira Rivera, has tested positive for Covid-19, according to Amanda Callaway, spokesperson for Harris Health System. Callaway said Ava was having seizures and needed to be intubated, but Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, where she was first taken, does not offer pediatric services.
None of the region’s major pediatric hospitals had beds available, Callaway said.
In a video posted by Harris Health, Ava is seen being transported in an air ambulance Thursday morning for a flight to Temple Hospital.
“Like us, many children’s hospitals are at or near full capacity,” Lucia told CNN on Friday. “That’s where we are for a lot of days right now. Fortunately, once they reached out to us, although we are far away, we were able to help them.”
Lucia said doctors were able to wean Ava off survival measures and described her condition as “very stable”.
“She is doing very well and is on the way back to full health,” he said.
Last year, the hospital had two or three pediatric cases of Covid-19 at one time, compared to five to seven last week at ten days, Lucia said.
“With the Delta variant, we are certainly seeing an increase in infectivity in the population, including children, including infants,” said the doctor.
“And with this particular increase, we are seeing more symptomatic children who are positive, more symptomatic and positive babies.”
He added: “We are also hospitalizing more and more and a few of them unfortunately need intensive care services (although) which is not particularly common.”
In the Houston area, Harris Health System has seen a huge increase in the number of Covid-19 patients, and at least half of intensive care patients have the virus, Callaway said.
“Add that to normal emergency needs and it overwhelms the system,” Callaway told CNN.
Harris Health is part of Texas Medical Center, the largest in the world, according to its website. There were 336 Covid-19 patients admitted on Thursday, the highest daily number of admissions since February, according to its latest update.
The cases are mostly found in areas where vaccination rates remain low, Zients said in a briefing on Monday.
Hospitals are filling up again with patients as the virus ravages the unvaccinated population.
Gov. Greg Abbott has said he will not impose a statewide mask mandate and has previously banned local government entities from requiring vaccines.
Texans know “what the standards are, what practices they want to adopt to protect themselves,” he told CNN affiliate KPRC last week. “It’s time for individual responsibility.”
Lucia stressed on Friday the importance of getting vaccinated.
“We are worried as the schools start to start and the children are back together again we are happy,” he said. “But we certainly hope it will be done in a thoughtful way, and we support the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for children returning to school with masks.”