Note: This article first appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of Focus.
Meredith McNabb describes her adorable one-year-old son Max as "an amazing little guy - he’s sweet and cuddly." In a word, perfect. Well, almost.
Max has supraventricular tachycardia, an electrical malfunction that can cause his heart to race rapidly. His first, and so far only, episode occurred when he was just two weeks old, following a brief bout of fussiness that kept him from eating. Max’s mother and grandfather rushed him to Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital's Emergency Department, a short distance from the family’s downtown Frankfort printing company.
"The staff immediately tried to get vital signs on him, and it was so hard because he was so tiny," Meredith said. Max’s heart rate was skyrocketing and his blood sugar and blood oxygen levels were dangerously low.
"They tried to put in an IV, but he was so little and dehydrated, they couldn’t get one started," Meredith said. "They finally were able to get an IV in and got some fluids into him, which brought him back."
Relying on Partners
As a small, rural emergency department, Paul Oliver is not equipped to care for an infant in cardiac distress. The physician’s assistant immediately called Munson Medical Center. She was told the baby needed to go to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids because Munson doesn’t have the specialized facilities to deal with this type of case, either.
POMH Emergency Team ‘Did Everything Absolutely Right’ Pediatric specialists at DeVos gave her the information the Paul Oliver team needed to keep Max alive. "The staff at Paul Oliver did everything they could until the pediatric team from DeVos was flown in," Meredith said. "Once they got here, they were able to intibate him and get him stabilized. Then they put him in an isolette and flew him down to Grand Rapids."
"The doctors at DeVos said they could not have been happier with the way Max presented to them when he got there," Meredith said. "Under the circumstances, the staff at Paul Oliver did everything absolutely right. They couldn’t have done a better job."
"They saved my son’s life, I’m certain of it. The outcome would not have been the same if this facility wasn’t available to us," she said. "We didn’t have an hour. The situation was critical in minutes. I will be forever grateful for what they did for me and my family."
"We’re very fortunate that we’re able to take care of local children through our partnership with DeVos and other pediatric partners," said Ed Ness, President and CEO of Munson Healthcare and Munson Medical Center.