HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - When your child is sick or injured and in need of critical care, you want to get them to the hospital as quickly as possible. And in this case, that care starts before they get to the E.R. That ride recently gave a Lawrence County girl a fighting chance.
On the outside, Huntsville Hospital's Kids Care transport unit looks like any other ambulance. Danielle Armstrong is the Director of the Kids Care Transport Unit. “We go and we pick up those pediatric patients and those infants that need to come to Huntsville Hospital for the specialized care,” she said.
But it’s the people and equipment inside that made it different. “The great thing about Kids Care Transport is that we’re able to provide that care from the moment we arrive,” Danielle said. “We’re an ICU on wheels for infants and pediatric patients.”
Crews are ready to roll 24-7. “All of our crews are specially trained in neonatal and pediatric care,” Danielle added. Onboard, the same equipment you’ll find in an intensive care unit. “Our number one goal is to provide care but provide it as quickly as possible,” Armstrong said.
Since the unit went into service 10 years ago, it has served more than 7,300 families across the Tennessee Valley. And as our community continues to grow, so does the need for another critical care unit.
The area in back where a registered nurse and respiratory therapist work on patients has logged more than 500,000 miles. And some of the equipment is outdated. “Without replacements for those, that would put us and the children of North Alabama in trouble,” said Ron Hall.
Ron’s a registered nurse. Troy Biles is a respiratory therapist. Both were on duty the night 13-year-old Kamryn Parker of Moulton was going into diabetic shock. “Kamryn, with her condition at that time was very ill and needed our help,” Ron said. “And when we got there, we had a plan formulated already and we did our best to put her at ease and then we loaded up and came back here.” Troy added, “She knew that she was sick and she knew she needed help and when we got there, we both just tried to comfort her as much as we could.”
Her mother, Amy Williams was riding up front. “I didn’t think that she was going to come home with me,” she said fighting back tears. “I didn’t understand how bad it was.” Kamryn needed critical care immediately, and she got it.
A worried mom felt better when they got on the road. “I was a nervous wreck the whole way,” Amy said. “I knew that she was being taken care of. And I knew they were going to do everything in their power to make sure that she was.”
Kamryn recently stopped by the hospital to see Ron and Troy to say thank you for the care they gave her that night. “I honestly believe had it not been for them, I don’t know that she would have made the progress the she did as quickly as she did. 21
“We made an impression on Kamryn but she also made an impression on us,” Troy said smiling. “Some patients you just remember and she was one of those patients.” Ron added, “You’re helping a child and the look in their eyes and the graciousness of their families afterwards, you just can’t put a price on that.”
The Huntsville Hospital Foundation hopes to have the new Kids Care transport ready to roll by this fall. It’ll use money from the 30th annual Huntsville Classic to do that. There's a golf tournament Saturday, May 12 and a concert Thursday night, May 10. Tickets are still available for Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. They'll play the VBC Propst arena Thursday night at 8. Tickets range from 25 to 40 dollars. You can get them by clicking here. Jason is a four-time Grammy winning singer - songwriter from Greenhill, Alabama. He's also a former member of the Drive-by Truckers. It'll be a concert to remember.