MISSION – The newest asset for the Mission Regional Medical Center’s Neonate and Pediatric Transport Team was unveiled Tuesday—an ambulance equipped especially for transporting premature infants and pediatric patients. This was the culmination of a service project begun last November by the Leadership Mission Class XXVIII (28).
The class started raising funds for the project last November with a goal of $10,000. Through several fundraisers, they were able to raise nearly $9,000. Kristina Silva, recent past president of Leadership Mission, said the group chose the transport team after lengthy research.
The Transport Team was developed five years ago and has been using a ProMedic EMS ambulance. The money raised not only helped give the vehicle a distinctive appearance on the outside with graphics and detailing, but also provided some much needed distractions for the patients on the inside. Depending on their destination, children can spend four to six hours in transit. To make the ride less stressful, it is now outfitted with a TV, Xbox, games, and videos.
For patient care, the vehicle houses a small refrigerator for medications and supplies and a special medical bag. The bag costs almost $2,000 alone. It is fully equipped with tubing, gel pads, resuscitation equipment and other medical supplies specifically designed for the tiniest of patients to the older children.
Previously, the team had to go to several departments in the hospital to make sure their bag was stocked with what they needed for transport. Now they are ready to go on short notice with one bag in the hospital and one on the vehicle at all times.
Javier Iruegas, CEO of MRMC, noted that the distractions provided for the patients are little things that can give a kid some comfort, remind them of home.
“We couldn’t do what we do without it. But obviously,” added Iruegas, “when the rubber meets the road, it’s the staff that actually takes care of those little ones…. That makes those miracles happen.”
Silva said they were very proud as a class to complete the project before the new class starts.
“I would hope that I would never need the ambulance as a service for my family,” said Silva, soon to be a mother of her first child. “But if so, I know that as a parent, it would make me feel a little more comfortable knowing that maybe it would be a little bit more calming.”
Marianna Treviño Wright, director of The Foundation at MRMC, said the team and the ambulance provide care to infants and children not only Mission, but surrounding communities as well.
“Not only are we bringing the neonates that are born in other areas of south Texas in to Mission for our level three NICU, but we’re also getting children from other hospitals and Mission to higher level of care facilities outside of the Rio Grande Valley,” said Wright.
Toni Sanfilippo, RN, said distractions are helpful when managing pain control. She also hoped that the exterior graphics would help them gain respect on the road to let other drivers know they are transporting a child.
Armando Garza, president of The Foundation, felt it was a way of getting that name out in the public, noting that MRMC has the only 24/7 transport team of its kind in the Valley.
In 2010, the team transported 135 children to cities as far north as Temple, for cancer, burn, brain, cardiac, and other intensive care. They responded to more than 1,200 distress codes within the hospital, and participated in 25 community education events, teaching children about basic first aid and safety. Since doubling the capacity of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in 2007, MRMC has provided state-of-the-art care for more than 1,900 newborns.
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