Saving Waylon

Waylon nearly died in a drowning accident. You helped medical professionals to save his life.

When Waylon fell through an ice-covered pool at his babysitter’s house, it took an entire community to save him – including you.

Waylon was underwater for about five minutes. The toddler arrived cold and lifeless at Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital in Petrolia.

His mom, Gillian, remembers the moment she got the call.

“It was the worst day of my life,” says Gillian. “I prayed and prayed that my little boy would be okay.”

It was all hands-on deck for the local hospital. From doctors and nurses to EMS and lab techs, everyone rallied to keep Waylon alive, working tirelessly for three hours to obtain a sustained pulse and warm up his body.

All the while, Dr. Janice Tijssen, a critical care physician with Children’s Hospital, was on the phone, providing expert guidance. She also dispatched the hospital’s Neonatal Paediatric Transport Team.

Waylon’s heartbeat became more regular shortly after the team arrived. Working with the local medical professionals, they helped further stabilize him and then they rushed him to Children’s Hospital.

child in a hospital bed, hooked up to machines and wearing a cap, with stuffies next to him“I knew he needed specialized paediatric critical care, but I was afraid because I couldn’t go with him on the transport. They needed space to work on him and I understood,” says Gillian. “But I also thought, what if he passes away without me there to hold him?”

Through talent, skill and a passion for protecting their patients, Children’s transport team delivered him safely. They rushed him into the Paediatric Critical Care Unit (PCCU).

Medical professionals provided post cardiac arrest care to protect his organs, provide neuroprotection and keep him stable. They also continued rewarming efforts.

During the transport and in the PCCU, you were there for Waylon. Donors help fund 90% of Children’s Hospital’s medical equipment purchases.

“I never imagined how many machines it would take to keep one person alive,” says Gillian. “If they didn’t have that equipment, Waylon probably wouldn’t be here.”

You were also there to comfort his parents as they faced their worst nightmare. Donors help fund the Paediatric Family Resource Centre, whose staff provide a shoulder to lean on, guidance and access to resources and technology.

“The staff have been in my shoes before, with a child in hospital,” says Gillian. “They gave me so much hope.”

Waylon needed critical care for a week and then he graduated to the inpatient floor. There he needed to relearn how to walk, talk and eat.

He progressed amazingly fast, and the family was discharged home after about two weeks in hospital.

“Waylon is strong,” Gillian says. “I knew he was stronger than this accident.”

It has been more than a year since the drowning and Waylon is happy and thriving. He loves playing and laughing with his older sister, Aberdeen, whom he adores, and has a sense of humour that keeps his family entertained.

Waylon continues to need ongoing care from Children’s Hospital, as he still faces some complications from the drowning.

“We still don’t know the long-term impacts, but we are truly thankful to everyone who worked together to keep him alive so that he can be with us today,” says Gillian. “Waylon was connected to tubes and dying and now he is a happy, smiling, great little boy that loves affection. That’s why giving to Children’s Health Foundation is so important. Every donation protects our children.”

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