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New pediatric ambulance debuts in Murfreesboro

Aug. 4, 2021, 4:34 PM

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s newest pediatric and neonatal transport ambulance is based in Murfreesboro.
Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s newest pediatric and neonatal transport ambulance is based in Murfreesboro. (photo by Donn Jones)

by Jessica Pasley

As the calls for pediatric and neonatal transports continue to escalate, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is at the ready to answer the needs of the region.

The hospital, the first in the region to offer specialized transport for neonates, pioneered the service in 1972 using a converted bread truck, dubbed Angel.

This week the newest addition, Angel 6, was put into rotation at the hospital’s newest base at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital Vanderbilt Surgery and Clinics Murfreesboro.

The state-of-the-art pediatric and neonatal transport ambulance brings the total fleet count to five.

“We have been seeing a much higher acuity of patients requiring transport to our hospital,” said Sarah Harmon, MSN, RN, CCRN, assistant manager of Neonatal and Pediatric Transport at Children’s Hospital. “Combined with Vanderbilt’s expansion throughout the region, we are experiencing an increased need for the transfer of pediatric patients from more communities.

“We are basically bringing the hospital to the patient, as these ambulances are fully equipped as if we were at the hospital. They are basically ICUs on wheels,” she said. “Our teams are specifically trained to care for the most critical neonatal and pediatric patients.”

The ambulances are outfitted with an isolette/incubator or stretcher, a ventilator, humidified high flow nasal cannula, a cardiac monitor and additional medical equipment and supplies to care for the hospital’s specialized patient population.

Three of the ambulances can carry up to two patients at a time, while two can transport a single patient.

The Children’s Hospital transport team is the only one in the state that is certified by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS).

The peer review organization is dedicated to improving patient care and transport safety by providing a dynamic accreditation process through the development of standards, education and services, according to the CAMTS mission.

The placement of the newest ambulance at the Murfreesboro base, which opened in March, will primarily serve the Southeast corridor of Tennessee.

The three-member transport teams, comprised of a registered nurse, a registered respiratory therapist and an advanced EMT, fulfill five shifts during a 24-hour period.

Also licensed in Kentucky, the transport team’s travel radius is typically 350 miles. Teams make up to five calls during a 12-hour shift. The program averages about 1,500 transports annually.

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