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May, 2024

Ivy’s Life-Saving Story

It’s stories like Ivy’s that reinforce how you, and our community, have helped to save lives and enhance patient care over the past 30 years. Unfortunately, a health crisis can happen at any moment and that is why we are dedicated to elevating our local health services, ensuring you and your family have access to the best possible care when it is needed most.

For Ivy, two pieces of equipment, donated by the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation were critical in helping to save her life.

Please show your support this Giving Day May 15 for our biggest fundraising event of the year and help positively impact lives just like Ivy’s.

It all started innocently enough, with Ivy’s kindy reporting a case of common croup. Concerned, her mother, Emily, took Ivy to their local doctor, only to witness her condition deteriorate rapidly. Despite receiving initial treatment, Ivy’s health continued to decline, prompting a visit to Gold Coast University Hospital.

Ivy in the Children’s Critical Care Unit

At the hospital, Ivy was administered adrenaline every 15 minutes but despite being in a stable condition, her body was not responding to the medication. The decision was made to move Ivy to the Children’s Critical Care Unit and an urgent CT scan showed she had developed a life-threatening narrowing of her airway. She was rushed to theatre to be intubated and put on a ventilator.

On the brink of closing, Ivy’s airway was so tight she needed the same size breathing tube used for new born babies and her medical team required a Video Laryngoscope (also known as a CMAC) to insert the tube quickly and safely. This equipment is often used with difficult intubation situations, and this time it was a critical piece of equipment, thankfully donated by the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation. Without it, the outcome for Ivy may have been very different.

The vital equipment that helped to save Ivy’s life, a Video Laryngoscope (also known as a CMAC) and the High-Frequency Oscillatory Ventilator (HFOV) – used only in critical situations.

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With air now getting to her lungs, Ivy was again stable. But unimaginably, the worst was still yet to come. Every parent’s nightmare unfolded again before Emily and her husband’s eyes when Ivy had bronchospasm, where the airways become extremely narrow, making it difficult to get air in (and out) of the lungs. The Children’s Critical Care team flew into action, requiring a multidepartment resuscitation response along with the anaesthetic department and the Adult ICU to save Ivy’s life.

At this point, Emily and her husband were removed from Ivy’s room, their hearts wrenching as they watched on hopelessly. Ivy was getting minimal oxygen and the team needed to work fast. She was so critical she could not be moved or taken to theatre; whatever lifesaving care needed, had to happen right there in her room.

This is when Emily and her husband were told heartbreaking news “You need to prepare for the worst, this is not looking good”.  They are words Emily says no parent should ever have to hear. Feeling completely helpless, Emily put all her trust into the teams at Gold Coast University Hospital.

As the medical teams did everything they could to reinflate Ivy’s lungs, Emily could see they were as concerned for Ivy as she was, and knew they had a determined and vested interest in saving Ivy’s life. A small solace that Emily clung to.

Ivy in the hospital after waking from her coma.

Terrifyingly, Ivy continued to have episodes of bronchospasm, putting pressure on the team to help her survive. After what seemed like a lifetime, the team eventually got both of Ivy’s lungs reinflated and she was placed on a ventilator that had also been bought through doantions to Gold Coast Hospital Foundation. Ivy was also given specialised inhaled gas, an emergency chest drain and medication infusions to support her blood pressure.

Ivy’s tiny body was now completely fatigued. To help her recover, Ivy was put into an induced coma. Days passed as Emily and her husband sat by Ivy’s bed, shellshocked, while senior medical teams watched over her

Ivy was determined to wake from her coma, and to her parents’ relief, she finally opened her eyes. After a few days her parents encouraged her to get up, but exhausted from her ordeal, Ivy’s little legs were like jelly. It wasn’t until The Gold Coast Hospital Foundation’s 2023 Giving Day that Emily could encourage Ivy to walk down to see all the exciting things happening outside. The Giving Day festivities perked Ivy up and got her back on her feet for the first time since being admitted to hospital.

Ivy playing a game at our 2023 Giving Day on the first day she got out of bed and Ivy with her unicorn balloon finally walking and leaving the hospital to go home.

Donate to our Giving Day

Giving Day, our biggest fundraiser of the year is on Wednesday the 15th of May. Your donation has the power to make a difference to local Gold Coast patients, just like Ivy. Please donate now.

Donate now to our Giving Day