Air Ambulance Flight Makes Surgery Possible for One-Year-Old Girl

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South Carolina girl flown to Phoenix, Arizona for complex brain surgery.

Medical Flight Services air ambulance company

Zeta arrives in Phoenix via air ambulance preparing to board ground ambulance

We are happy to help a really great family and we specialize in helping families obtain their health insurance benefits.

Today, thanks to the skilled physicians at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and with assistance from air ambulance provider Medical Flight Services, 15-month-old Zeta Brabham will undergo surgery to cure her hypothalamic hamartoma (or HH as it is often called).

Zeta was born with HH, a rare, benign brain tumor suffered by only one out of about a million people. If not treated, the symptoms, including seizures, mental disability and behavioral problems become increasingly disabling.

The problem until yesterday was that Zeta’s best hope for treatment lay nearly 2000 miles away from her home in Ulmer, South Carolina. The location on the brain of the HH makes removal extremely difficult—a feat most surgeons decline to tackle. Phoenix Children’s Hospital is one of only a few medical centers in the world that has the skill and expertise to handle cases like Zeta’s. With the operation, Zeta will have the chance to live a relatively normal life.

As Zeta also has severe respiratory problems that require her use of a ventilator, her trip to Phoenix needed to be as quick and as safe as possible. That meant an air ambulance or med-evac flight. An air ambulance is a medically configured jet—essentially a flying intensive care unit—with all the necessary medical equipment and medical personnel on board. For patients like Zeta that cannot travel on a commercial airline, or risk increased pain or complications traveling via regular ambulance, a medical flight was the only option. The entire trip lasted a little more than five hours.

“We are thrilled to finally be here!” said Angel Brabham, Zeta’s mother, who traveled with Zeta to Phoenix. “A lot of people have put in a lot of work and a lot of prayers to make this day possible. We can’t begin to thank all of the people at Phoenix Children’s, Medical Flight Services and a hundred others.”

In order to alleviate some of the financial stress of the medical transport from South Carolina to Phoenix, Medical Flight Services agreed to provide the services without any advance payment and is assisting the Brabhams in their efforts to have their health insurance cover the trip. “We just wanted to jump in and help,” said Michael Ward, CEO at Medical Flight Services. “It’s a risk we are happy to take to help a really great family and we specialize in helping families obtain their health insurance benefits.”

Heroic in everyone’s but their own eyes, Zeta’s parents, Steve and Angel Brabham, have gone to the ends of the earth to help their little girl. Whereas most parents of a toddler-aged child might lug around a car seat and a stroller, any travel with Zeta requires an array of equipment including a ventilator, suction machine, feeding pump, pulse oximeter and a “go-bag” containing various supplies. All together the equipment weighs about 25 pounds. Zeta’s older brothers, Steven age 10 and Chancelor age 8, also help with everything from running Zeta’s machines to handing out prayer cards.

While Angel is the primary parent involved with doctor appointments and working with insurance, Steve Brabham provides for his family as the store manager with Sanders Supply Company in Bamberg, South Carolina. Insurance covers many of the costs of Zeta’s care, but there are still significant expenses that insurance does not cover. “We do everything that we can do and try not to worry too much about what we can’t do,” said Steve. “Certainly, we owe a lot to a lot of good, generous people who have helped us along the way.”

To learn more about Zeta’s condition and the Brabhams' courageous battle go to http://www.angelbrabham.blogspot.com/. Anyone wishing to make a donation to help pay for Zeta’s ongoing medical bills may make payment to the Zeta Brabham Fund at First Citizens Bank of Barnwell, in South Carolina.

For more information on Medical Flight Services go to http://medicalflightservices.com.

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Michael Ward
Medical Flight Services
(480) 235-7600
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