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Project Austin

project austin logoProject Austin was named in honor of a fifteen- month- old child with a congenital heart defect and critical airway with a tracheostomy.  One night, a family’s worst nightmare came to life and Austin’s trach was plugged. Austin’s parents immediately called 9-1-1 and the local EMS system reported to their home. Austin’s mom informed them of his critical airway, but with minimal knowledge regarding stabilization of a child with special health care needs, the EMT’s began to try and ventilate Austin through bag-mask-ventilation.  Austin was eventually transported to the closest hospital.  The outcome was tragic and his parents were faced with an impossible decision.  Three days later Austin was taken off life support.  It is our and Austin’s parents goal to never have this happen to any other family. As a result, we have developed a program entitled Project Austin in order to educate local emergency medical systems (EMS) such as; fire and rescue, emergency departments (ED), and primary care providers on care of special needs children.

Project Austin:

    • Children with special health care needs have very unique medical histories and require very special medical treatment.  Ideally, pediatric tertiary care centers, such as Children's Hospital & Medical Center, are the home hospitals for these children and are prepared to care for their complex medical needs.  In an emergency, many of these children are cared for by local EMS agencies that may not be familiar with their special needs leading to an increased risk of delayed treatment, unnecessary tests, and even serious preventable errors.

    • Overall goal is to provide continuity of care to children with special health care needs as they transition from the hospital to home by creating community awareness and/or education to local EMS regarding your child.

Project Austin family photoHow do I enroll my child?

1. Contact Project Austin Coordinators to enroll your child

2. Project Austin Coordinators will complete Emergency Information Form (EIF) (Spanish version) with you regarding your child’s pertinent health care information

3. Legal guardian consent must be obtained

    • By signing the EIF you are giving consent for enrollment in the program as well as permission to share the EIF with pertinent medical professionals in your community.

4. Project Austin Coordinators will send EIF to local EMS, community hospital, primary care provider, and caregivers

    • Based on community resources, additional education may be provided to these services

Next Steps:

    • Keep EIF with child at all times

    • Present EIF to medical personnel in emergency situations

    • Project Austin Coordinators will contact you on a yearly basis to update EIF

    • Children with special health care needs have frequent changes to medical care.  Contact Project Austin Coordinators with changes.

Project Austin babyAdditional Information:

    • Project Austin does not involve a cost to you or your local EMS agencies.

    • Project Austin was developed in order to initiate contact regarding your child and their unique special health care needs.

    • Relies on families providing medical community with updated EIFs to maintain current information

    • Who do I contact with further questions regarding Project Austin?

Please contact the Project Austin Coordinators with any further questions.

Natalie McCawley, MSN, RN, CCRN
Transport Outreach Coordinator
call 402.955.8973 or email

Tiffany Simon, BSN, RN, CCRN
Trauma Outreach Coordinator
call 402.955.8952 or email

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center
Project Austin Coordinators
8200 Dodge St
Omaha NE  68114