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In the UK the incidence of congenital heart disease is approximately 7 per 1000 live births. The case of a neonate with shock due to an undiagnosed heart defect who was resuscitated in a rural GP surgery and transferred directly to a paediatric centre with specialist tertiary services is described. This case emphasises the importance of the recognition of the sick infant and demonstrates what can be achieved within the current framework for delivery of care. Helicopter emergency medical teams have training in many advanced practical skills, diagnostic skills and clinical experience, which facilitate transfer of the patient to a place of definitive treatment, reducing morbidity and mortality.