First-time parents Natalie and Phillip Meznar breezed through pregnancy, labor and delivery without complications. But all that changed shortly following the birth of their son, Matthew.
“At birth, we only heard the tiniest bit of a cry,” Natalie said. But there was more … Matthew wasn’t breathing well, and he was turning a blue/gray color.
Immediately, Matthew was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Shawnee Mission Medical Center where doctors began assessing the newborn’s condition. Because they thought he might have a heart defect requiring surgery, they called the Children’s Mercy Neonatal Transport team.
The team brought the technical innovations and resources of the Children’s Mercy NICU to Matthew’s bedside, stabilizing him for transport to the region’s only dedicated pediatric tertiary care hospital.
“The transport team was phenomenal in interacting with my husband and I,” Natalie said. Phillip rode with Matthew to the hospital, but because she had just given birth, Natalie couldn’t go. Instead, she was wheeled up to say goodbye to her newborn before the team left.
“I remember the transport nurse leaned over and whispered, ‘I have five children, but I am going to have six until you are able to come and be with your baby,’” Natalie said. “That meant the world to me. Matthew wasn’t just another patient to them; they cared about him as a person. I felt like he was in the best of hands.”
Before Matthew even arrived at the hospital, doctors at Children’s Mercy ruled out a possible heart defect. A few hours after arriving, Matthew was diagnosed with a rare condition called pulmonary arteriovenous malformation, or PAVM, which affects blood flow between the heart and lungs.
The next day, Natalie joined Matthew and Phillip at Children’s Mercy where a procedure was performed via a catheter to correct the malformation, improving his blood flow and lung function.
While in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, the transport team who took Matthew to Children’s Mercy—Kathleen, Corey and Nathan—stopped by for a visit.
“The follow-up of the transport team just floored us. It was amazing that they checked in on Matthew,” Natalie said.
After several days in the hospital, Matthew was able to go home. Today, his growth and development are on track.
“Right now, we don’t anticipate that he’ll need any other treatment,” Natalie said. “Matthew is a good baby, very happy and calm, but he had a pretty scary start.
“It’s a special calling to care for families and children in their time of need,” Natalie added. “We are grateful for the Children’s Mercy Transport team. They are so good at what they do—our whole experience with them was terrific!”