WVU Children’s Hospital gets a new transport ambulance

One mom-turned-nurse tells both sides of the transport story

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Fifteen-year-old Kyle Feick was visiting family in Parkersburg, W.Va., in September 2012, when a seizure threw him into respiratory arrest. The local EMS and emergency room team stabilized him, but his care was complicated by a congenital heart defect he had been diagnosed with in infancy.

Kyle’s mother, Lora Buchanan, R.N., was home in Morgantown at the time. When Kyle was an infant receiving care at WVU Children’s Hospital at Ruby Memorial, the care he received inspired Buchanan to pursue her nursing degree.

“After Kyle’s final open heart surgery, when he was four-years-old, I decided to go to nursing school,” Buchanan said. “Everybody had taken such good care of Kyle and me, our whole family. It’s not just the patient. You take care of the whole family.”  

Buchanan joined the team at WVU Children’s Hospital as a nurse with the Pediatric Transport Team. When she got the call about her son’s seizure, Buchanan requested that he be transported to WVU Children’s Hospital.

“It was so nice that, even though I wasn’t there, I knew one of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) nurses was picking him up and would know exactly what to do with him,” Buchanan said.

Kyle needed a monitor, an artificial airway, a ventilator, and IV pumps with anti-seizure medication and medications to raise his blood pressure and heart rate. He was rushed to WVU Children’s Hospital, treated, and after two days released.

Nearly two years after the incident, Kyle is doing well. Now 17-years-old, he loves video games and plays with his brother and sister, and he still makes frequent trips to Parkersburg to see family.

His mother has a firsthand perspective on both sides of the transport experience. Kyle was only two days old the first time he was transported.

“I remember very clearly the big isolette and how intimating that is for a parent that’s never had medical exposure,” Buchanan said.

Now a pediatric transport nurse herself, Buchanan can see the transport experience with a professional eye.

“It is never an easy task to turn the care of your child to a stranger. It can be quite heart wrenching,” Buchanan said. “Being a part of the team, I had peace of mind that, while Kyle was in the back of that ambulance, everything that he could possibly need was going to be done.”

WVUCH-Ambulance.jpgWVU Children’s Hospital, in partnership with Jan-Care, has updated its pediatric ambulance to a newer model. The new ambulance will continue to serve the critically ill and injured children who are regularly transferred to WVU Children’s for specialized care.

The ambulance is essentially a critical care unit on wheels. Inside the ambulance is everything you would find inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or PICU at WVU Children’s Hospital, from medications to equipment.

The original ambulance transported 292 children last year alone. Since its dedication in 2010, it has transported children from across West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia.

The new pediatric ambulance has significantly fewer miles and is stocked with brand new equipment. The ambulance that carried Kyle is on reserve as a back-up.

The ambulance is equipped with monitoring arterial catheters, which monitor blood pressure and can be used for arterial blood gas measurements. It has a heart monitor/defibrillator and top-of-the-line ventilator. It is also equipped to provide medical air, a diluted dose of oxygen that is safer for premature infants.

Children from birth through adolescence can be accommodated in the ambulance. Infants can be transported in a car seat or an isolette. The ambulance is GPS tracked and has a drive cam installed with back-up cameras. Drop-down chains provide extra safety in snowy conditions.

Stick, LLC, and Asayo Creative donated their services to wrap the new ambulance with the WVU Children’s Hospital logo.

Both ambulances are certified as critical care transport units through the West Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services.

WVU Children’s Hospital – located on the sixth floor of Ruby Memorial, WVU Healthcare’s flagship hospital – provides maternal, infant and pediatric care for West Virginia and the surrounding region, giving care to high-risk mothers, premature infants and children with life-threatening conditions through adolescence to adulthood. It is the state’s only Children’s Miracle Network hospital. For information on WVU Children’s Hospital, see www.wvukids.com.


For more information:
Angela Jones-Knopf, News Service Coordinator, 304-293-7087
sf: 04-28-14

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