HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- Sometimes when babies enter this world too early or with a medical problem, they have to skip the introductions and go straight to the Regional Intensive Care Unit. The "Kids Care" program at Huntsville Hospital is celebrating its 10th year. It's the only transport program of it's kind in our area.
What sets this ambulance apart from others is the staff. Pediatric-trained medical teams are inside the kids care ambulance to transport infants and children to the NICU or the Pediatric ICU. The special staff keeps parents at ease and the new gear, makes it a top of the line vehicle for those special patients.
"It's all updated as far as we've got an Xbox one in for the kids, we've got heliox for the asthmatics, we've got a new life pack 15," said Travis England, the Kids Care Coordinator.
"This is going to give us a reading of vital signs such as heart rate, oxygen level, our respiratory rate, blood pressure and temperature," Tara Eslick pointed out the features on an isolette.
In the past decade, almost 5,000 pediatric patients have taken a ride in the colorful ambulance. More than 2,000 of those patients have been babies going to the NICU. "We have a special isolette that we use for them, it keeps them warm," said Eslick, a registered nurse in the NICU at Huntsville Hospital.
The equipment upgrade and new logo on the ambulance make it state of the art. But it's the team inside that helps get parents through a difficult time and lets them know their babies are in good hands.
"It helps calm them," Eslick said about the special ambulance. "We tell them we're specialized in pediatrics, but this gives them a visual."
England told WHNT News 19 the pediatric vehicle has been and always will be a game changer. "You know I've sat and played football all the way to St. Jude with a kid before on the game system we had," said England. "They don't even realize they're sick, they're just all about having fun."
The team hopes to have the "better than ever" ambulance back in service by the end of the week.
Note: A ventilator in the unit was bought with funds from the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund. It was one of the first items purchased with money raised at the Miracle Bash and Swim for Melissa fundraisers.