Georgia boy reunites with medical staff who helped save his life

Cole returns to Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville for surprise reunion

By Crystal Moyer - Traffic/reporter

Cole Johnson, 7, reunites Thursday with members of the Kids Kare team at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 7-year-old Georgia boy reunited Thursday with the medical staff who helped save his life after a health scare last month.

Cole Johnson was healthy and happy when he and his family returned to Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville to thank the men and women who took care of him.

On May 8, Cole woke up with a strange cough at his home in Valdosta, Georgia.

"It scared me a little," Cole recalled Thursday.

He was also having trouble breathing.

"He came to our bedroom door and could barely breathe," recounted Donna Johnson, Cole's mother. "I said, 'You need to call 911.'"

After a visit to a local hospital, Cole's condition got worse and he had to be flow on the LifeFlight air ambulance to the nearest children's hospital, which was Wolfson.

"I was so shook up about it," Johnson told News4Jax. "I had to have a nurse explain it to my husband on the phone."

Cole's tonsils were so swollen that doctors had to sedate him and place a tube in this throat to help him breathe. After several procedures, including removing his tonsils, Cole was able to breathe again.

A month and a half later, Cole was back at Wolfson for a surprise reunion Thursday with the Kids Kare team who transported him to Wolfson early last month.

"I was pretty surprised," Cole said.

Cole reunited with the emergency transport and flight crew members on the helicopter pad. He also got to sit in the back of the chopper -- this time, as a crew member.

"It's an awesome feeling when they come back and they look as good as he does," said Loretta McKay, a transport registered respiratory therapist on the Kids Kare team. 

Cole also took a tour of the Kids Kare Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulance, which was also arranged by Wolfson.

He had one thing to say: "Thank you."

"Aww, you're welcome," the crew members replied.

Cole said he's been able to get back to taking jiujitsu and can't wait to tell his friends about the experience when he starts the first grade in August. 

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