MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — Two flight nurses are being hailed as heroes after helping a mother and her newborn. Now, they are getting national awards for saving the baby’s life.
The nurses are on the Air Evac Lifeteam out of Mattoon, treating patients who need emergency care and transportation all over Central Illinois. They received Global Medical Response’s Stars of Life Award. Kelly Hamill and Dakota Shadwell said they were just doing their job when their quick thinking and ability to use new technology saved a life.
“I got a text from my program director,” Shadwell said, “and it’s like, ‘hey, are you available for a phone call?'”
Shadwell thought it was strange joining a conference call with two of his bosses, but it was to congratulate him on winning an award — something he found even stranger.
“It was just almost kind of mind-blowing, like, at a loss for words,” he said. “None of us are in this for the recognition.”
Shadwell and Hamill helped stabilize a baby born 13 weeks early.
“When we walked in, we just grabbed all of our specialized equipment because we didn’t know what we were going for or what we were about to walk into,” said Hamill.
She had recently requested new equipment and training for a Bubble CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, machine. It was exactly that equipment needed to keep the baby alive. Hamill said it is especially effective for newborns because respirators can be too much for their underdeveloped lungs.
“They were having some struggles being that premature,” Hamill said. “We had found out [the baby was] 27 weeks and it was pretty tiny little thing, only two pounds. And so, the hospital was, you know, that’s not something that they deal with. It’s a little hospital.”
Now Hamill and Shadwell will be going to Washington D.C. next month to accept awards for their service. It’s something they say is just part of the job.
“I don’t do this for an award, honestly. I do it because I care about people and I want to help people and take care of people in the community,” Hamill said.
Both Hamill and Shadwell are happy to report that almost five months later, the baby and mother are doing fine.