New rolling NICU a ‘game changer’ for critical babies in Alabama

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 5:42 AM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Baptist Medical Center has a new tool to help babies all over Alabama, and it’s already saving lives.

From the outside, it looks like an ambulance, but inside, it’s a neonatal intensive care unit on wheels. In fact, Baptist Refers to it as a “Rolling NICU,” getting babies the care they need as soon as they need it without having to wait until they get to the hospital.

“Seconds count, and minutes count, especially with these critical babies,” said Kristy Jackson, Baptist NICU’s Assistant Nurse Manager, describing how this Angel One ambulance makes the most significant difference.

“This allows us to get that therapy to them and bring them back to us in a safe manner so that we don’t have the complications that it would that they might receive if they didn’t get the therapy quite as quickly.” Dr. Cindy Bonner explained it allows for the very same technology, expertise, and compassionate care that patients receive inside the walls of this hospital to be brought nearly everywhere in the state.

“These are respiratory therapists and nurses that have gone through extensive training to know how to take care of babies right after birth, and so they’re used to making those critical changes. And with all the technology, you know, we can see X-rays, we can talk to them, we can help guide them in the therapies that the baby needs till it’s able to get back to us,” Dr. Bonner said.

And it’s already helped more than 100 babies around Alabama. Jackson told a story about the day of the tornadoes on January 12th.

“We had a transport to enterprise, and because of the road conditions and trees being down, our transport team had to had to take different routes home took quite a while to get home. So, they were able to care for this baby in the back of the ambulance for several several hours while they found routes to get back here to the hospital just to provide this baby the care that it needed.”

“It’s a game changer for babies that get the critical care they need on a more timely basis,” said Dr. Bonner.

The Angel One rolling NICU is about a $400,000 unit made possible by a Baptist Health Care Foundation grant. It partners with CARE Ambulance service and is housed at Baptist Medical Center South.

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