Cate Buol, photoAimee and Brandon Buol didn’t have time to worry about the pandemic. Their daughter Cate, 3, had an abnormally fast heartbeat and needed care immediately.

The Buols, of Columbus Junction, Iowa, took Cate to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital and were able to focus on getting the pediatric heart care Cate needed without having to be worried about safety.

“Even with all of the COVID stuff going on, they made us feel like it was a good choice to be there,” says Aimee, who is a volunteer emergency medical technician in Louisa County.

Cate was diagnosed in March with a condition known as supraventricular tachycardia that causes an abnormally fast heart rhythm. After consulting with the pediatric heart experts at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, the Buols’ local pediatrician prescribed medication to control Cate’s abnormal heartbeat.

But on April 29, when Cate’s heart rate remained too high, Aimee decided it was time to get Cate to the emergency room.

Aimee spoke on the phone with a UI Health Care nurse, who encouraged Aimee to bring masks for Cate and herself to wear in the hospital.

The waiting room was empty when they arrived, Aimee says, but the staff remained extra careful about eliminating any potential contact with other patients.

“They took us back right away,” Aimee says. “They were ready for us.”

A familiar face—and a familiar song

With medication not controlling her condition, Cate was admitted to the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital pediatric intensive care unit, and an ablation procedure was scheduled for the next day.

Ablation removes abnormal electrical circuits in the heart that control the heartbeat. This procedure is performed by a cardiologist who uses a catheter that runs through the patient’s veins and into the heart.

Aimee was pleased to learn that the procedure would be performed by pediatric cardiologist Ian Law, MD. Law had performed the same procedure on Aimee when she was 16.

To help put Cate at ease in the procedure room, Law used his phone to play her favorite song, “Herman the Worm,” so that the care team could sing it to her.

Law began the procedure but soon discovered that the location of the area that needed to be treated in Cate’s heart made ablation too risky for her. He called off the procedure and chose instead to use a different medication.

“Dr. Law and his team made the best medical decision and backed out of the surgery to keep our daughter safe and not cause any unnecessary harm,” Aimee says.

Cate stayed at the hospital for several days afterward so that her condition could be monitored.

A medical professional herself, Aimee appreciated all of the extra safety precautions taken by hospital staff, including wearing masks and special face shields when providing care.

“We’re very fortunate to have this facility and the kind, caring staff of nurses, assistants, PAs, and doctors,” Aimee says. “And the janitorial crews are amazing. They’re doing an awesome job of keeping the entire hospital in tip top shape and taking the extra time and precautions to keep patient rooms and shared areas cleaned and disinfected.”

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