White Oak EMS gives ailing New York baby door-to-cure transport
By Jennifer R. Vertullo
Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013, 5:21 a.m.
White Oak EMS is answering a New York mother's plea to transport her baby to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Jackson “Jax” Ulicky, born on Jan. 28, suffers from OEIS complex, a rare birth defect that manifests in complications surrounding the spine, bladder and digestive system. Those defects — exposure of the intestines, liver and other organs that remain outside the body during development — affect 1 in 200,000 to 400,000 pregnancies. The cause is unknown.
Jax has undergone two major surgeries in his first six months of life.
Through the “Adventures of Super Jax” Facebook fan page, more than 1,000 followers have witnessed the boy's ups and downs in his care at the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at West Chester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y.
Facebook users read a Monday post by Jax's mother Tierney Butler, who was searching for an ambulance company to transport her and her son from New York to Pittsburgh, where doctors advised her Jax would have the best possible care at the UPMC children's facility.
Jax's father already began moving the family's belongings to his hometown of Phillipsburg. But West Chester Medical Center would not discharge Jax to a Pennsylvania residence, and a hospital transport would be required.
Butler shared her fears about staying in New York without health coverage since the family's official residency has been changed to Pennsylvania, and she asked for a fast transport with consideration of their desperate financial situation.
White Oak EMS Chief Paul Falavolito was browsing Facebook pages late Monday night when he happened upon the page. He contacted the site's administrator immediately and began coordinating his efforts with West Chester and UPMC.
“As soon as I saw the baby's face and the mother's plea to have an ambulance transport them for free, it was a no-brainer for us,” Falavolito said. “We don't use all three of our ambulances throughout the day. If we have one sitting here, we should use it to help this family.”
Falavolito left Wednesday night with White Oak EMS Capt. Becky Miller and Lt. Bill Harper for the approximately 400-mile trek to Valhalla. They are expected to arrive at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh between 4 and 5 p.m. on Thursday.
White Oak EMS is receiving financial support from its Mechanicsburg-based billing company Cornerstone Admini Systems and medical support from UPMC.
“We are a business partner with White Oak EMS, and we are proud of them as an organization and a company,” Cornerstone Admini Systems vice president Ranee Morrison said. “It's a great thing that they're offering to do, and we are happy to play a very small part in it.”
Scott Dolan, an EMS specialist with UPMC, said the health system's role has been coordinating care and the transport.
“Our primary focus right now is making sure everything is in line for the child's transportation and his arrival at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.”
As the crew prepared to head out on the highway, Butler thanked them via Facebook.
“Thank you again to Paul and his (crew) for helping our family get to where we need to be,” she posted on Wednesday afternoon. “We will forever be in your debt for this.”
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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