Answering the call for emergency care

By: Albert Antonio, D.O., director, Neonatal Transport Medicine & Outreach, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach

Most community medical centers are not equipped to provide specialized care for a critically ill child, a premature infant or a high-risk pregnancy. To ensure the highest level of care, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach has a neonatal transport program available 24/7.

At Miller Children’s & Women’s, transport is more than just a journey – it’s a specialty. The Transport Program at Miller Children’s & Women’s is a comprehensive multi-specialty program that brings more than 1,200 children and expectant mothers from surrounding hospitals each year.

The transport team is made up of a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, neonatologist, pediatric intensivist, registered nurses, and respiratory care practitioners that are trained to provide specialized neonatal care. When arriving at the hospital, the entire transport team, from the nurse to the ambulance driver, introduces themselves to the patient and family, explains their role in the patient’s care, what to expect on transport and answers any questions before departure.

Transport team members participate in special training annually to ensure their knowledge is up-to-date with best practices. They complete coursework from intensivists and specialists in common disease to ensure comprehensive specialized training.

Upon arrival at Miller Children’s & Women’s, a premature infant is admitted to the level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Level III designation is given to hospitals who meet strict state regulatory criteria to provide the necessary care for the most critically ill and extremely premature babies, who often weigh less than 2 lbs. at birth.

The Perinatal Special Care Unit at Miller Children’s & Women’s provides specialized care for women who are experiencing complications during their pregnancy.

A child in need of specialized care will go to the Cherese Mari Laulhere Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). The PICU provides critical care for patients whose condition may be life-threatening or who may require constant monitoring.

When emergent neonatal, pediatric or high-risk pregnancy care is required, Miller Children’s & Women’s Transport Program is available 24/7 to provide specialized care.

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