Hospital life – Tribute to CATS

Tribute to CATS


I have this teddy bear cat in my house. It is orange with brown whiskers. It sits proudly on my son’s bed. It is an emblem to us as a family. It represents hope, peace and a united fighting spirit. We call it CATS seems cheeky right? Well you will know why we chose that name in a moment. Looking around my home, you will find many of those CATS around, perhaps ten of them.

CATS actually stands for Children Acute Transport Service. It is an acronym. When my son was born, he was very unwell. As soon as I had him in my arms, I knew he was not right. I could have brushed it off as paranoia but because I had been through extreme experiences after birthing each of my boys, the consultant knew not to brush off my concerns and thankfully so. In no time, he was in a coma. He was slipping away. That was when I heard the name CATS for the first time.

CATS was the intensive care ambulance we were waiting for to transport us to Great Ormond Street Hospital where hope lived. CATS was the name of the service I apprehensively asked the nurses about when I wanted to know their proximity since the last time we heard that they were on their way… amidst their pleas for me to calm down. How could I?

It was hard to be calm when my son’s life hung on a balance it was hard to think straight or make sense of anything.

Then suddenly, CATS arrived! When CATS arrived, it felt like an army of knights had arrived. Looking at them, they looked built for the occasion. There was a doctor and a nurse on board. They took what seemed like ages to transfer all the equipment from the hospital into the ambulance. I am sure it happened very quickly but that day, it felt like years.

We were on our way to the intensive care unit in London to save my boy’s life.

Neeeee…… nooooor………neeeee…..noooooor

The sirens blared. I cried with each beep because I had no idea if he was going to make it.

Neeeee…… nooooor………neeeee…..noooooor

I was scared but reassured by the expertise before me from where I sat on that ambulance. They were pricking and prodding my boy. Putting cuffs here and thermometers there. They simply knew their onions. Although my heart was heavy, it was hopeful.

The CATS team were super professional. Reassuring me of our arrival in no time. They tried to keep me distracted by talking to me. I felt cared for…. Not shoved away because I was not the patient. There was a seat for us his parents on the ambulance.

After we arrived and our child was transferred into the intensive care, CATS bade me farewell and gave me a parting gift – the CATS cuddly cat. Since then, we have made over 10 of such trips.

We unfortunately have had a lot of intensive care admissions but there has not been a time where I have doubted the capability of the CATS team to deliver my son to where help lay.

I know many parents appreciate them and we are all thankful for the excellent service that we enjoy via CATS for our kids. My son recently needed CATS again but we got given a bag for life bag with mini brushes and toothpastes for freshening up on the go.

This year I understand CATS is 15 years old. 15 years of delivering hope to our little fragile ones. I am thankful to them for a great service. My son will not be here if CATS did not do their job as well as we all know and love them for.

So once again, as I look at this cuddly soft toy – CAT I remain happy and hopeful that come what may, help will always be on the way.

Thanks for reading.

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Photo credit: Pixabay