WILMINGTON – A much-needed piece of equipment is making its debut in Southeastern North Carolina this November. The specially-designed neonatal/pediatric critical care transport vehicle is the largest in North Carolina and will be arriving at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, ready to help fragile newborns and children from around the seven county area safely travel to the level of care they need, including to the intensive care services offered at NHRMC’s Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children Hospital.
“Adding this specialized transport vehicle to our fleet provides another level of advanced care for children and families in this region,” says Jack Barto, president and chief executive officer of New Hanover Regional Medical Center. “We will now have additional specialized transport equipment that matches the high level of skill of our providers.”
With an initial $125,000 challenge grant from the Eshelman Foundation to purchase the vehicle, the NHRMC Foundation raised $125,000 in matching donations from the community. Donations were received from a Chords for a Cause benefit concert, the Cape Fear Memorial Foundation, Wachovia/Wells Fargo, the Babies Hospital Foundation and Verizon. Community events like a skeet shoot tournament sponsored by Rodgers Builders & Monteith Construction, and a two-day radiothon sponsored by Sunrise Broadcasting, along with hundreds of individual donations from all over Southeastern North Carolina, helped to raise funds for this critically important vehicle.
“Having this vehicle could save lives by allowing us to more rapidly respond to emergencies involving newborns and children from eastern North Carolina and South Carolina,” says Fernando Moya, M.D., Director of Neonatology at the Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital.
The neonatal/pediatric critical care transport vehicle is capable of transporting two neonatal isolettes or two transport stretchers and a crew of up to six medical personnel and a driver. A DVD player with built-in flat-screen monitor, soft interior colors with a beach theme, and ceiling panels resembling the sky filled with hot air balloons, make the ride a little less scary and provide a welcome distraction for children. The cab of the ambulance is capable of transporting the parents of a patient in relative comfort with an available video monitor to see how their child is doing and relieving a little of the stress of emergency situations. A small refrigerator to provide bottled water, MI-FI for a laptop and cellular phone to contact family are also comforting to parents making the trip with their child.
All of the equipment and medical supplies that stock this ambulance, including heart monitors, defibrillators, heart pacer, ventilators and a dedicated laptop, ensure that the specially trained team of medical workers can provide a high level of expert care to even the smallest neonatal patients.
“Though our community already has intensive care mobile units, they are built and equipped for adult patients,” explains Joseph Pino, M.D., Director of Pediatric Specialty Services at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. “This will be the first unit in our region that is solely designed for infants and children and specially equipped to handle the needs of the most critically ill quickly and safely.”
The Betty H. Cameron Women's & Children's Hospital is home to the region’s only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The 45-bed unit offers technically advanced, lifesaving care for premature or critically ill babies.
The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, or PICU, is also a first for Southeastern North Carolina and Northeastern South Carolina. The PICU is home to a wide range of specialized treatments and technologies that help restore the health of critically ill or injured children. The unit is staffed around the clock by physicians and registered nurses specially trained in pediatric critical care. In addition, specialists like pediatric surgeons and a pediatric endocrinologist are on staff to provide expert care.
The neonatal/pediatric critical care transport vehicle will join the fleet of vehicles operated by VitaLink, New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s critical care transport team, and was custom-built by American Emergency Vehicles in Jefferson, North Carolina.
For more information on the services provided at New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital, visit www.nhrmc.org/womensandchildrens.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center is the leading provider of quality and accessible health care in Southeastern North Carolina, delivering care to all in need, without the support of taxpayer dollars. The medical center takes seriously its responsibility as an economic engine for the community, creating more than 4,500 jobs directly and another 3,000 jobs indirectly.