March of Dimes provides ambulance for infants

Staff Nurse Priscilla Poole, who works in the NICU and as Piedmont Hospital’s liaison to March of Dimes, showcases the isolette in which critically ill newborns and infants are transported inside the Angel II neonatal ambulance.

Racing through the surface streets and interstates of metro Atlanta is the kind of vehicle little boys dream of driving. It crushes speed limits, diverts traffic and even defies death.

It is not the Batmobile, but the occupants of the Angel II neonatal ambulance might be superheroes.

“With this new vehicle and equipment, we’re able to transport babies between 400 grams and five kilograms from hospitals who don’t know how to stabilize them to a hospital that can care for them and help them to thrive,” said Grady Memorial Hospital Senior Staff Nurse Kelly McDonald.

Studies show that Georgia ranks among the states with the highest number of pre-term, low birth weight babies born each year. These infants often require treatment at a neonatal intensive care hospital. So the March of Dimes and the Grady Foundation teamed up to provide the equipment and service to transport these fragile children.

Angel II visited Piedmont Hospital April 17 to showcase the impact of the March of Dimes March for Babies. You can help support March of Dimes programs in your community that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies by joining the March for Babies April 28 at the Georgia World Congress Center by visiting MarchForBabies.org/Team/PiedmontAtlanta. The funds raised also support research to find answers to the problems that threaten our babies.

Piedmont Healthcare utilizes Angel II to move infants from Level I neonatal units, like Piedmont Mountainside, to units that specialize in meeting the needs of premature and very sick babies, like Piedmont Hospital.

The interior of Angel II is outfitted with the latest technology, making it as close to a rolling NICU as it can be. Infants transported in the neonatal ambulance are placed in an isolette equipped to continuously monitor every aspect of the baby’s condition while in transit. They can even transport babies on a heart-lung bypass machine.

Heavy duty air shocks provide a smooth ride, but the isolettes have their own shocks, too. But an essential part of any ambulance service is the driver.

“You have to be able to choose the routes that are the fastest and smoothest,” said Milko Mintchev, Emergency Medical Technician and Emergency Vehicle Operator. “You need to know every street in Atlanta, and how to avoid traffic jams, speed bumps and poor road conditions.”

The neonatal transport service, based at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital, serves more than 40 counties and 35 hospitals.

For more information, visit MarchForBabies.org/Team/PiedmontAtlanta or contact Priscilla Poole at Priscilla.Poole@piedmont.org.

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