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Project Austin

Project Austin was named in honor of a fifteen- month- old child with a congenital heart defect and critical airway with a tracheostomy.  One night, a family’s worst nightmare came to life and Austin’s trach was plugged. Austin’s parents immediately called 9-1-1 and the local EMS system reported to their home. Austin’s mom informed them of his critical airway, but with minimal knowledge regarding stabilization of a child with special health care needs, the EMT’s began to try and ventilate Austin through bag-mask-ventilation.  Austin was eventually transported to the closest hospital.  The outcome was tragic and his parents were faced with an impossible decision.  Three days later Austin was taken off life support.  It is our and Austin’s parents goal to never have this happen to any other family. As a result, we have developed a program entitled Project Austin in order to educate local emergency medical systems (EMS) such as; fire and rescue, emergency departments (ED), and primary care providers on care of special needs children.

Project Austin:

  • Children with special health care needs have very unique medical histories and require very special medical treatment.  Ideally, pediatric tertiary care centers, such as Children's Hospital & Medical Center, are the home hospitals for these children and are prepared to care for their complex medical needs.  In an emergency, many of these children are cared for by local EMS agencies that may not be familiar with their special needs leading to an increased risk of delayed treatment, unnecessary tests, and even serious preventable errors.

  • Overall goal is to provide continuity of care to children with special health care needs as they transition from the hospital to home by creating community awareness and/or education to local EMS regarding your child. 

How do I enroll my child?

Next Steps:

  • Once the EIF is received the Project Austin Coordinators will send the EIF to your local EMS agencies.

  • We strongly encourage you to introduce your child to these local services and work together to create an emergency plan. 

  • Based on community resources additional education may be provided to these services by the  Project Austin Coordinators.

  • After EIFs have been sent by Project Austin Coordinators you will receive a letter in the mail with confirmation and enrollment in the program. 

Additional Information:

  • Project Austin does not involve a cost to you or your local EMS agencies.

  • Project Austin was developed in order to initiate contact regarding your child and their unique special health care needs.

  • The EIF will need to be updated yearly and with any major medical changes by you and your primary care provider and mailed to local EMS agencies based off the contact list mailed to you by the Project Austin Coordinators.

  • Who do I contact with further questions regarding Project Austin?

    Please contact the Project Austin Coordinators with any further questions.

    Natalie McCawley, BSN, RN, CCRN
    Transport Outreach Coordinator
    Email Natalie or call 402.955.8973

    Tiffany Simon, BSN, RN, CCRN, CPST
    Trauma Outreach Coordinator
    Email Tiffany or call 402.955.8952