AeroAngel recently flew 5-month-old Taehung Jacket back home to Cortez with his mother Layla. Taehung was born premature at 36 weeks. But just days later, Layla and the medical staff noticed something was wrong when he was unable to breastfeed. It became clear that he needed more specialized care not available in Durango, Colorado.
“They sent us up to Denver… we got to the room, there was a lot of people, they were trying to figure out what was wrong,” said Layla.
Taehung spent the next three months of his life at Children’s Hospital. He has a rare congenital condition affecting his digestive process. Consequently, he must be tube fed Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) and Lipids.
“He’ll be on TPN for the rest of his life… it’s real hard,” said Layla.
Only a few weeks after being discharged home, Taehung got sick again. An infection to his central line spread throughout his body, including his brain. Layla and Teahung endured another long trip up to Denver, where they stayed for another three weeks until the infection cleared.
Finally, still medically fragile but ready to return home, AeroAngel flew Taehung and Layla back to the Cortez airport, just an 11-minute drive from their home. Daniel’s Caravan, another Denver-nonprofit, transported Taehung and Layla to the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport from the Children’s Hospital for their 45-minute flight to Cortez.
“We were glad to get this flight arranged on just a couple days’ notice,” said Mark Pestal, AeroAngel’s President. “Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to help many children receiving critical care at Denver Children’s Hospital.”
AeroAngel, a Denver-based nonprofit, has spent the last 10 years providing free flights to critically ill children like Taehung and supporting families and mothers like Layla.