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Cardinal Glennon Air Makes Debut

Fast access to a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center can mean the difference between life and death for children who are severely sick or injured. SSM Cardinal Glennon’s dedicated pediatric/neonatal transport team flies about 275 patients to the hospital each year, on a helicopter previously shared with another pediatric hospital.

The new “Cardinal Glennon Air,” through a partnership with Air Methods/ARCH Air Medical Service, will allow the pediatric/neonatal transport team constant access to a dedicated helicopter that can travel throughout the region and quickly bring seriously ill patients back to SSM Cardinal Glennon.

Caleb Ortbals was one such patient. When Caleb was born at a St. Louis area hospital, he inhaled blood and developed a hole in his lungs—a life-threatening issue. Caleb was immediately flown to Cardinal Glennon for emergency treatment in the Dana Brown Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a Level III NICU staffed to care for the sickest babies.

Nearly two years later, Caleb is a happy, healthy boy with enough energy to fuel his own helicopter.

 “Just a few minutes after Caleb was born, his obstetrician came in to baptize him; I understood then how severe he was,” said his mother, Staci Ortbals. “But he was able to quickly get the level of care that he needed. I can’t imagine my life without that helicopter ride to Cardinal Glennon. The transport team saved my baby’s life.”


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