Baby Addy was born at just 28 weeks. When she arrived, Addy was so tiny and so sick that doctors doubted she’d survive — at one point, as mom Elaine told KUSA Denver, the doctors told her to say her goodbyes.
To have any chance of surviving, Addy had to be moved to another hospital. Born in Loveland, Colorado, doctors wanted her transferred to Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora — 60 miles away.
Ideally, Addy would have been taken to the new hospital in a helicopter — but on that day, they were all in use. With the clock ticking on Addy, and no other options, doctors had to have her loaded into an ambulance and driven for over an hour to get the help she so desperately needed.
Zach Quinby, a respiratory therapist with the Children’s Hospital Flight Team, accompanied Addy on her lifesaving journey. He tried to get her on a ventilator to keep her alive, but it wasn’t working. Zach recalled to KUSA, “I couldn’t get her settled in on that breathing machine. Every time I put her on the ventilator, on the breathing machine, she would get worse.”
It was Zach’s partner who noticed that Addy improved when Zach “hand-bagged” her, meaning he manually pumped the air into her lungs to help her breathe. Desperate to keep little Addy alive, Zach hand-bagged her air supply the entire trip. He said:
“We were driving back on I-25, in rush hour traffic, and there I was: breathing for this baby. And I made a deal with her back in that ambulance, and said, you know, ‘I’m not going to quit until you quit.’ And I’m really thrilled with how she has kept up her end of the deal.”
Addy and Zach made it. After spending months in the NICU, Addy is doing better than anyone expected — and now, she’s celebrating her first birthday. Of course, Zach is there to celebrate with her.
Check out the video below to learn more about Addy’s story, and please SHARE this video on Facebook!
Footage and photos provided by KUSA Denver
CORRECTION: February 27, 2018
An earlier version of this story referred to Addy as Abby. Her correct name is Addy.
Due to restrictions, this video cannot
be viewed in your region.