Toddler Escorted by Convoy During Storm Stella Is Resting Comfortably
In the snowy and icy chaos of a storm that took its toll on the Northeast — dumping more than three feet of snow in some areas and paralyzing several major cities — one Pennsylvania toddler was in for the fight of his life. Emergency crews leapt into action with a special convoy to escort 23-month-old Bentley Gingerlowski, who was born with a rare congenital heart defect, on a treacherous journey towards an emergency medical procedure.
“I had to call the governor’s office during the blizzard, ‘please stop saying heart transplant.’ He was born at this hospital with a congenital heart defect,”Wendy K. Wilson, Vice President of Media/Digital for Geisinger Health System, told Your Daily Dish. “They arrived at approximately 2:30 in the afternoon through two and three feet of snow. The snow plow led the convoy pushing the snow out of the way following up with Humvees and state police SUVs making sure the family was safe on their journey. His mom had taken video in the ambulance called Suburban EMS .”
At the family’s request, Bentley Gingerlowski was transported from Lehigh Valley Health network in East Stroudsburg to Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville, Pennsylvania. That is approximately an 80-mile trek during the nasty Nor’easter road conditions.
The snow didn’t stop Pennsylvania State Troopers, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania National Guard from plowing through the storm to get Bentley Gingerlowski to safety.
After a successful team effort, Pennsylvania State Police took proudly to Facebook defying Stella’s wrath.
They wrote, “The snow doesn’t stop us! PSP Troopers teamed up with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania National Guard, and Suburban EMS to escort a 23-month-old child from Lehigh Valley Health Network in East Stroudsburg to Geisinger Children’s Hospital in Danville for an emergency medical procedure. The team effort ensured everyone arrived safely. #Stella” The Pennsylvania National Guard added: “This is why we serve. #AlwaysReadyAlwaysThere.”
“Nicole and her husband, Brian Gingerlowski, initially raced their toddler from their Mt. Pocono, Pa., home to the closest hospital because of a low platelet condition that caused external bleeding,” the hospital said in a statement. “They later requested the transport to Geisinger, where treatment has stabilized his life-threatening condition. Bentley’s heart condition has been treated by Geisinger specialists since he was born there almost two years ago.”
Nicole Gingerlowski added in a statement, “We’re very grateful for each and every member of the team who provided service to get our son here safely. To finally get here was a relief. To see your son that way was scary. He’s always been a fighter, but not knowing what would happen to him really was the scariest part.”
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf had braced for the storm by putting emergency response teams into play. On the morning of March 14, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) began to post hourly updates on Storm Stella — which dumped more than 20 inches of snow on the state — warning motorists to stay home and authorizing travel restrictions on major highways. They were proactively plowing through the roads throughout the day.
When the convoy pulled up to Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, the family was glad they made the sacrifice to move him.
Nicole Gingerlowski said in the statement, “I know all the doctors here and I know that they care for my son. At other hospitals, it feels like Bentley is a patient. But here, we feel like family. The care he gets here is outstanding.”
The vivacious toddler Bentley will remain at Geisinger to undergo additional testing. He is now resting comfortably — completely unaware of the fanfare surrounding his precarious journey — much to the relief of his parents.