Kansas City,
14:45 PM

Vigilance and experience saves Lenexa teen

The Children's Mercy Critical Care Transport team responded when Tyler Green suffered respiratory failure from aspiration pneumonia.

Tyler Green Scope

Shannon Green knows her 15-year-old son Tyler from Lenexa, Kansas tends to take bites of food that are too large, not chew thoroughly and eat too fast. He suffered an anoxic brain injury at birth that resulted in a variety of health problems, including sensory issues that have required years of feeding therapy.

But being at the wheel of the car driving home after a vacation in August Shannon couldn’t easily oversee how quickly he ate his dinner. Several hours passed before he began to complain of a sore throat and started coughing.

The Children's Mercy Critical Care Transport team responded when Tyler Green suffered respiratory failure from aspiration pneumonia.

Upon arriving home, however, Tyler was in good spirits. At bedtime, when his coughing became excessive, he took a breathing treatment which helped and they went to bed. But their rest was short-lived. Tyler’s cough worsened, and he began spitting up blood. Shannon, RN, BSN, CPEN, a Critical Care Staff Nurse in the Tom Watson Emergency Department at Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas, noted symptoms of respiratory distress including color changes and immediately rushed him to the ED.

Upon arrival, Tyler’s oxygen saturation was extremely low at 73 percent. Many immediate treatments including mask oxygen, BiPAP, IV medications and fluids were provided without significant response in oxygen sats or work of breathing.

The Children’s Mercy Kansas ED physician realized the Children’s Mercy Critical Care Transport team was needed to transport Tyler to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Adele Hall Campus. The ED staff and transport team worked together to successfully intubate Tyler and provide further emergent treatments to stabilize before transport. Despite elaborate collaboration and aggressive therapies, his condition continued to worsen. The ED physician warned Shannon that her son might require CPR.

“The kid that barely survived birth and his first weeks of life again had to fight,” Shannon remembers thinking. “This was my worst nightmare all over again.”As the specialty pediatric mobile intensive care ambulance headed to the Adele Hall Campus PICU, Tyler’s heart rate dropped precariously several times. But the transport crew’s vigilance and experience kept Tyler alive.

“My Transport Team – Missy Vaughn (RRT-NPS, Transport Respiratory Therapist), Kerry Shutt (RN, BSN, C-NPT, CMTE, Transport RN), and Caleb Lind (Emergency Nursing Services Care Technician) – was amazing,” Shannon says. “They were supportive and explained everything. Caleb asked if I needed anything, and I said prayers. He called ahead and had a chaplain waiting.”

Over the next few days in the PICU, Tyler’s condition remained critical, but he slowly began improving after a diagnosis identified the cause of his illness: aspiration pneumonia that had resulted in respiratory failure.

“Today, Tyler is back to 100 percent,” Shannon said, her gratitude still evident. “The Transport Team was amazing. At Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas, helping care for him, during transport and throughout his hospitalization they gave their all to Tyler and to support me,” she said.

Read more about Children's Mercy's Critical Care Transport Team

Read more about Children's Mercy's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Read more about Children's Mercy's Division of Emergency and Urgent Care.