Critical Care Transport makes a difference in the lives of triplets

The Bon Secours Critical Care Transport is designed for exactly what Yolonda and David Vines and their three tiny newborns needed it to do – to make certain the infants made it safely and securely to their destination at the St. Mary’s Hospital NICU, a Level III neonatal intensive care unit that would be the babies’ home for the next several months.

The triplets were born nearly three months premature at Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News, where advanced NICU services are not available. And in this case, like many others, the transport service was a critical component to the babies’ survival.

The Critical Care Transport is staffed by a dedicated NICU team, a service unlike any other in the community. In addition to the NICU team, there are specialized pediatric, maternal fetal and adult transport teams available for patients. The ambulance itself is specially designed and equipped, and its four-member NICU transport team is made up of a critical care nurse, a respiratory therapist and two emergency medical technicians. It’s a team that is available 24/7 – travelling within a 200-mile radius of St. Mary’s or further, if necessary.

“We see cases like the Vines’ regularly from hospitals across the commonwealth,” said Dr. Sara Gay, a pediatric intensivist at St. Mary’s Hospital and medical director of the pediatric critical care transport program. “In this particular case, the children were well stabilized at Mary Immaculate and we worked to make the transition seamless while getting them to the NICU as quickly as possible.”

Transport clinicians serve as the conduit between referring and receiving hospitals. Once deployed, the team is in immediate remote communication with the referring hospital staff, the family of the patient, and the medical staff at St. Mary’s.

“Communication is a key element to our success,” said Dr. Gay. “In this case, we were communicating simultaneously with the parents, the St. Mary’s NICU physician and nursing teams and the medical staff where mom was recovering. This ensures that we secure the best possible outcomes for our patients.”

“It was nerve-racking at first, but the transport team left us very confident that our children were in good hands,” said David Vines, father of triplets Eliana, Hannah and Ariel. “I was very impressed by their fast work and professionalism. They did an excellent job.”

In 2010 alone, the Pediatric Transport brought 327 pediatric patients and 47 NICU patients to St. Mary’s. The majority of the transports came from within the metropolitan Richmond area, demonstrating the community’s need for such a service.

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