A Calgary mother recognized that something wasn’t quite right with her little girl and she was able to get her the help she needed after a quick call to Health Link.

Betty Hildebrand called the 24-hour health advise line when she noticed her 21-month-old daughter Georgia had a persistant cough and had broken out in a rash.

Hildebrand suspected that her daughter was just teething but she decided to give Health Link a call anyway.

The Health Link RN thought the symptoms might be more serious and advised Hildebrand to watch for new symptoms and to see a doctor immediately if her daughter’s condition worsened.

“One day she started to really struggle and I called Pam and we looked at a few things and she had developed a rash as well and Pam suggested that if it got any worse to go in to the Children’s hospital,” said Hildebrand.

Georgia didn’t get better so Hildebrand took her to a city emergency department which lead to the diagnosis of a serious heart defect.

The RN Hildebrand spoke to that day was Pam Murray who was able to identify that the toddler was showing signs of dehydration and was having trouble breathing.

“She had a really bad cough and a fever and a lot of times when they’re this little we’ll actually have them put the phone up to the baby and that’s when I heard some really big wheezes. There was a really deep, deep cough that was just really unusual for a child that age and she was struggling to breath and so then we decided at the end of the assessment that the best place for her to go would be the Children’s emergency,” said Murray. “I was worried that it might be something like pneumonia because her chest was so full.”

Georgia was suffering from vascular ring, a condition that is caused when the aorta wraps around the windpipe and esophagus constricting the flow of air and food.

The little girl has fully recovered after having surgery on December 14 and she and her mother were able meet Murray on Tuesday at the Health Link Call Centre to thank her.

“I call Health Link often for both my children and myself as well,” said Hildebrand. “It was nice to meet her. I felt like we were friends already after all our conversations and they’re pretty emotional sometimes when you’re talking about your sick child but it was wonderful to meet her.”

Murray says she doesn’t often meet the people she helps.

 “This is the first time ever for me,” says Murray. “Just to see that she looks so well, she’s nice and pink and that’s wonderful.”

Hildebrand says she wouldn’t hesitate to call the health service again.

“I don’t work in medicine. I don’t know anything about medicine and I like to have a second opinion and a factual second opinion,” said Hildebrand. “I don’t like to take chances with my children so I just think a phone call is so easy to make, then it's an easier decision to make as to your next steps.”

Health Link Alberta received more than 760,000 calls from across the province last year.

For more information, visit the My Health Alberta website.