It’s the middle of the night in Arizona, and three-year-old Angie has been rushed to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at a children’s hospital. Born with chronic lung disease and pulmonary hypertension, she has reached a crisis point, and her condition is deteriorating rapidly. Time is running out.
That’s when her parents heard these words: “Your daughter needs a double lung transplant.” There aren’t many places in the United States to go for that. Her doctors want her at Texas Children’s Hospital. They tell her parents that they have been in contact with physicians in the PICU there, but her condition needs to stabilize before they can transfer her.
For 30 harrowing hours, it is touch and go. And then there is a glimmer of hope. Angie’s condition has improved enough for her to be transported via Texas Children’s Kangaroo Crew air ambulance.
The journey has really just begun. Now, the waiting game begins, and it is a long one. Her parents juggle their schedules and rearrange their lives so that one of them can be with Angie and one of them back in Arizona with their other children.
It is four months before the organs become available. When Angie does receive the double lung transplant, everyone is overjoyed. It’s a success! Still, her recovery is long and slow.
It is another two-and-a-half months at Texas Children’s — some of it spent in the PICU and some in a step-down unit — before Angie can go home, but today she is happy, healthy and thriving.
More and more families are coming to Texas Children’s for life-saving care. We treat the sickest patients — children like Angie whose conditions are so serious and so complex that they simply cannot receive the care they need, even at other good children’s hospitals.
Add to that the fact that our facilities were built for a different time and are no longer large enough. Thirty years ago, they were state-of-the art. Equipment was smaller. Texas Children’s didn’t have as many patients. Today, there is so much more technology and equipment, and it is larger and more complex. In addition, the number of patients who come to us for the most specialized care is growing every single day.
Texas Children’s Hospital has arrived at a critical moment in its history. Bottom line: We have outgrown the space we currently have at the Texas Medical Center Campus.
These are our challenges…
- Critical Care
The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) often operate beyond capacity. Rooms that once functioned very well can no longer comfortably accommodate patients along with the equipment they require, nor can they give families the space and privacy they need and deserve.
- Surgical Care
Every year, we treat the most critically ill patients who require extremely complex surgery. We need larger operating rooms, and more of them, all equipped with the most up-to-date technology and equipment.
- Emergency Care
In the last two years, visits to the Emergency Center (EC) have increased by more than 25 percent. Texas Children’s receives 50 percent of all trauma-related 911 and EMS transports.