Pilots Lending a Hand and Shrinking the Drive

Alexi and Nic onboard a CAIR Flight.

Alexi and Nic onboard a CAIR Flight.

Today, many people cannot receive essential medical care because distance, time, or money are insurmountable obstacles. Patients cannot participate in, or complete clinical trials and research therapies for the same reasons.

Primary care physicians frequently offer referrals instead of treatment, and travel to distant facilities is now a commonplace occurrence. For those without the appropriate resources this can be a tremendous burden.

Shriners Hospitals for Children® – Tampa is fortunate to have the help of 13 Shrine Temples that transport our patients to and from the hospital, whether the trip is right around the corner or across the state line. It took Nic and his wife two days of travel from Panama City to the Tampa Shriners Hospital to have their six month old son, Jude, treated for Arthogryposis, a condition that dramatically stiffens joints and his ability to move.

Thrilled with the care their son received at the Tampa Shriners Hospital, the family was desperate to find a way to alleviate the 7.5 hour drive every week to SHC for Jude’s serial casting. Tampa Shriners Hospital put the Gibson’s in touch with CAIR Flight, a local charitable corporation formed to offer community-based airlift to those in need.

“We left home at 7:30am and were home by 3:00pm on the same day! My wife and I were not exhausted. Jude did a lot better – the plane’s vibrations put him to sleep. We actually slept some on the plane too. I missed one day less of work, we missed one day less with our young daughters, and we had a wonderful flight instead of a difficult 2 day travel ordeal,” he said with a sigh of relief.

Their primary reason for coming to Shriners for Jude’s treatment was that experts treating his condition are relatively rare; especially those who will take the time and effort to perform non-surgical treatments. “We went with Jude to another very well respected teaching hospital and they were only willing to do multiple surgeries. So far with Shriners, Jude has not needed surgery in his foot treatments while he would have had two by now outside of Shriners. The patient approach to treating these kinds of problems has been a great benefit to us and to Jude, and most importantly we are seeing great results.”

Shriners states that:

Coordinating transportation for our patients is a complex operation. Fortunately with the assistance of the Temple drivers and charitable groups such as CAIR Flight, our Shriners Hospital in Tampa is able to continue helping patients defy the odds. Our heartfelt thanks goes to everyone involved in the safe transportation of our patients and their families.