When Jon and Lisa Leonard watch their daughter Trinity at play, they see more than just a happy toddler. They see a miracle walking.
Credit fast action by emergency responders and a skilled KVH Hospital Emergency Department trauma team for averting a tragedy and helping that miracle happen.
On July 8, Lisa, a KVH Hospice nurse, was at home in the kitchen when she suddenly realized Trinity was no longer playing at her feet. Instinctively racing to the hot tub, she found Trinity face down in the water. “She was blue, pulseless, not breathing,” Lisa says.
For Lisa there was no time to agonize over a moment of distraction. She called 911 and began CPR, praying aloud with each compression as she focused on what she'd learned from KVH CPR instructor Karen Scott.
Four minutes after her 911 call, three paramedics who had been training nearby arrived in a medic unit. Josh DeHererra, whose wife works at KVH, leaped out. “He's my favorite medic,” Lisa says, recalling how DeHererra immediately grabbed Trinity and raced back to the ambulance.
That morning Jon, who owns an IT support company, had stopped by the house, arriving in the midst of the crisis. Now, as the medic unit left, Lisa shoved car keys into his hand, told him to take their older daughters, 7-year-old Ember and 5-year-old Nia somewhere, and headed to the hospital. Stunned, “I drove five minutes before I figured out what I needed to do,” he says.
At KVH Hospital, a finely-choreographed response was unfolding.
When the scanner in the Emergency Department alerted staff that a child drowning victim was headed their way, a “Code Blue PALS” call went out over the hospital intercom. “Code Blue” signals that an incoming patient is in cardiopulmonary arrest and a special team comprised of staff from key departments should go to the emergency room immediately. PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) is specialized training for treating a child.
The impact of that type of call out isn't lost on Lisa. “A pediatric Code Blue is absolutely the worst,” she says.
“We literally had 15 people in the emergency room waiting for Trinity,” says Dede Utley, director of emergency services.
By the time Trinity arrived, paramedics had intubated her, enabling them to force oxygen into her lungs. They'd also inserted a special needle into the marrow of her tibia so medication could be administered. The baby found floating lifeless in the hot tub, now getting help with her breathing, had a pulse, a heartbeat and better color.
Dr. Andrew Peet, the emergency room physician, was consulting with doctors at Children's Hospital in Seattle as staff ran tests on Trinity.
Randy McGee, a certified registered nurse anesthetist who is the hospital's go-to guy for difficult IV starts, placed an IV into one of Trinity's veins, no small achievement given a baby's tiny veins. Utley says while administering medication into the bone marrow works, “for our peace of mind it's a much more sure thing when medication is going into a vein.”
Within an hour of her arrival at KVH, Trinity – still in critical condition – had been stabilized and arrangements had been made to move her to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma where an ICU bed was available. Initially transported by the same medic crew that brought her, she was transferred to a helicopter in North Bend due to traffic delays.
Eight days later, Trinity went home. By then, Jon says, “she could do everything but walk on her own,” something she quickly mastered.
On July 19, she and Lisa returned to the emergency room, this time to say thank you. A photo captured that day, punctuated by Trinity's gleeful grin, shows her on Lisa's lap surrounded by staff.
“I think our emergency department does an outstanding job,” Utley says.
The Leonards, whose deep faith permeates their lives, agree.
With a tragedy averted, there is an indisputable afterglow that warms the days that follow. On a sun-baked summer afternoon four weeks after the accident, Jon and Lisa sat in McDonald's smiling as they watched Trinity play.
“KVH saved our daughter's life,” Lisa said.
“Every step is a miracle,” Jon added.