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News and Features First Neonatal Transport Program Still One of the Largest

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News and Features First Neonatal Transport Program Still One of the Largest
Establishing the first neonatal transport system
Presented by Howard Kilbride, MD, Division Director, Neonatology

In 1970, Neonatology Section Chief Robert T. Hall, MD, equipped a hospital van with a generator-powered incubator. As a result of that brilliant insight, Children’s Mercy had established the very first neonatal transport program in the U.S.

Today, Children’s Mercy operates one of the largest pediatric transport programs in the country. We performed over 4,500 transports last year, including more than 800 neonatal transports. Our crew for each team is comprised of specially trained registered nurses, respiratory therapists and emergency medical technicians who are dedicated exclusively to neonatal and pediatric patients. And we’re equipped for such specialty transport services as neonatal therapeutic cooling, high frequency ventilation, inhaled nitric oxide and helium/oxygen therapy, intubation, needle decompression and UVC/UAC line placement.

Our transport fleet consists of nine ambulances, one helicopter and an airplane. We recently replaced our existing helicopter with a brand-new twin engine American Eurocopter EC145. It’s the only hospital-based helicopter in Missouri and Kansas dedicated exclusively to neonatal/pediatric patients. It features a flight radius of 170 miles and a number of additional safety enhancements, including an Instrument Flight Rules configuration with digital autopilot, ground proximity and traffic warning systems and moving map GPS with weather overlays. The displays are fully compatible with the night vision goggles the transport team uses. The helicopter also features a DVD player to provide the patients with distraction therapy during transport.

Our critical care ground fleet is also comprised of state-of-the-art equipment, such as a specially designed lock-down safety restraint system for the isolettes. For longer transports, our transport team uses a Beechcraft King Air 200 fixed-wing aircraft. It’s capable of transporting two patients simultaneously and can be configured with either two isolettes or two pediatric stretchers.

We’ve received many awards in recognition of our outstanding transport services. Children’s Mercy was named 2007 Transport Program of the Year by the Association of Air Medical Services. Other major honors include the Fixed Wing Award of Excellence in 2006 and the Critical Care Ground Award of Excellence in 2005.

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