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North Texas Hospital's New $6.5 Million Jet Is A Mobile ICU

FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - Evelyn Hernandez is a new mom and she worries about her precious little Rachel. Her baby girl is a little more than a month old and all she's known is the inside of two hospitals.

"It was unexpected," Hernandez said while in Houston. "It's pretty hard."

Rachel has a rare disorder that causes the pancreas to produce too much insulin. It's called congenital hyperinsulinism, and if not treated the condition can cause brain damage. Each year, 150 children are diagnosed with the rare disorder.

"They really couldn't control her sugar levels at the previous hospital she was in," explained Hernandez.

Cook Children's jet baby
Baby Rachel Hernandez. (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

The infant had to be rushed from Houston to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth for treatment. The North Texas hospital is one of two in the nation that can treat her disorder.

Time was of the essence, so Cook Children's sent its new jet dubbed the "Cook Teddy Jet." Rachel was the very first patient onboard and she was in Fort Worth in just 43 minutes.

"We can fly farther and faster," explained Debbie Boudreaux, Director of Transport at Cook Children's. "Everything that you could possibly need for the sickest kid we have right here."

Cook Children's jet 2
(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Boudreaux says the new jet is kind of like a mobile intensive care unit that not only has nurses and paramedics onboard but specialized equipment as well.

"The care Cook Children's provides doesn't have to wait until the transport team gets back to Cook Children's," said Boudreaux, adding, "It starts when that transport team walks in that door."

Baby Rachel will soon have to undergo surgery. The family says they have no idea how long they could be in North Texas, but they are grateful they got to Fort Worth so quickly.

Recalling the ride from Houston Hernandez said, "I was able to sit and see her. She had IV fluids running and they had all that in place in the jet – that made me feel that she was safe."

The Dodson Foundation paid $6.5 million for the jet. Officials at Cook Children's say the new aircraft will also be able to fly sick children from across the country to Fort Worth for treatment.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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