The Columbus Regional Medical Center welcomed the newest addition to its fleet, a neonatal emergency transport that will help save babies all over the region.
The third of its kind at the Medical Center since 2000, the specially designed N-3 will travel across Georgia and Alabama to help critically ill babies.
Dr. David Levine, Medical Director of Newborn Services, says, "We're actually providing care for them before we even get them back to the NICU so that they can arrive in better condition and have a good chance to survive."
The hospital has been raising money for the unit for two years through Children's Miracle Network. John Dale Hester and his family had a special interest in raising those funds.
"My youngest son Weston was transported from the Medical Center here up to Eggleston 8 1/2 years ago where he had surgery," says Hester, "and wouldn't have made it if we didn't have something like this."
This is the second neonatal ambulance Hester has bought for the hospital, and he says there's no better cause than saving kids' lives.
The $250,000 unit will be able to provide all the services a baby needs, just like an Intensive Care Unit in the hospital.
Dr. Levine adds, "The incubator that we transport babies in has to be able to fit into the ambulance and be secure so that it doesn't roll around. It's not like a regular ambulance that accommodates a stretcher."
He says the unique design will allow plenty of space for the specially trained therapists and nurses to do their work. "We have more needs for oxygen and air and other gases to be pumped in," says Levine. "We have power needs that may be different than transporting adults, and it has to accommodate our entire team in a way that they can have access to the baby to see what's going on because these children are critically ill when we're bringing them back."
N-3 will travel about 35,000 miles a year.
The Medical Center will celebrate the grand opening of its new Pediatric Emergency Department next week.
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