Military medevac team safely delivers soldier’s premature daughter from Kuwait to Germany
Stars and Stripes January 26, 2023
A soldier stationed in Kuwait received her Christmas miracle in the form of a medical airlift of her premature baby to Germany by fellow service members.
The girl was born Nov. 22, more than three months early, Army Maj. Jeanne Krick, a neonatologist at Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio who was on the flight, told Stars and Stripes last week.
The infant required help breathing, eating and maintaining a healthy core temperature, Krick said. She and seven other members of a medical team flew from Texas to Kuwait on Dec. 21.
They monitored the infant from afar as they waited for her to become strong enough to survive the stresses of travel.
“We picked up the baby Christmas Day in Kuwait and delivered her to Germany in the same day,” Tech. Sgt. Alejandro Armendariz of the 145th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron said in an Air Force statement.
After loading the baby into an infant incubator specialized for travel, the team took off on a C-17 Globemaster III.
But the final stretch of the 15,000-mile mission proved challenging. Just before landing, the infant’s vital signs dropped precipitously. Her heart rate and oxygen saturation were lowered by the changes in air pressure.
“Literally within about a thousand feet of landing, several members of my team had to unstrap and try to help her out,” Krick said.
She described a hectic scene in which one doctor manually pumped air from a bag to help the baby breathe as others told the pilots to land the plane as quickly as possible. Air evacuation crew members grabbed the medical workers to secure them during landing.
The medical intervention helped, and a day later, the infant no longer needed her breathing tube. The child and her mother were transferred to a U.S. medical facility in Germany, Krick said.
The infant’s mother, who was deployed to Camp Arifjan, declined an interview request.
Krick provided an update on the baby girl’s condition, saying that “she is getting bigger and stronger every day.”