MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Medicine Children’s is joining hospitals around the country in recognizing National EMS for Children Day on Wednesday (May 22). Pediatric ambulances provide specialized care and equipment for children during emergency transports. 

AmbulanceThe WVU Medicine Children’s Transport Team is the only unit in northern West Virginia dedicated exclusively to pediatric, neonatal, and maternal patients. 

“Every year, the demand for and reach of our transport team continues to grow,” Melvin Wright, D.O., chief of the Section of Pediatric Critical Care, said. “We’ve done extensive training and outreach with community providers to raise awareness of our services in order for local hospitals to be able to respond quickly to the critical needs of women and children.” 

The Team completed 467 transports in 2018 and is on pace to exceed that number in 2019 with 188 transports to date.

“In central Appalachia, the time and distance necessary to reach a pediatric or neonatal intensive care unit is lengthy,” Clinton Burley, president and CEO of HealthNet Aeromedical Services, said. “Having specialized teams available to reach children in rural communities is a true lifesaver. We are bringing the intensive care unit directly to these children near their homes.”

The Transport Team recently expanded to include maternal transports. This service allows mothers with high-risk pregnancies to be transported while receiving the best possible care for their condition. In the event of a delivery in transit, specialized staff is available to provide immediate care.

“The specialized care our WVU Medicine Children’s Transport Team provides can make a significant impact in patient outcomes,” Charles Mullett, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the WVU Department of Pediatrics, said. “In many of these cases, time is an important factor. By providing intensive care during transport, we are better able to manage the treatment of critical conditions.”

About National EMS for Children Day
According to the National Academy of Pediatrics, “National EMS for Children Day places a spotlight on the delivery of high-quality emergency medical care for children, focusing on the unique needs of critically ill or injured pediatric patients and the challenges faced by EMS professionals in meeting those needs. The purpose of the annual EMS for Children Day is to highlight the distinctive aspects of caring for children and to raise awareness about the need to improve and expand specialized care for children in prehospital and acute care settings. The EMSC program is working with EMS leaders nationwide to ensure that all children – no matter where they live, attend school, or travel – receive the best care possible in an emergency.”

For more information: Heather Sammons, Communications Specialist, 304-285-7256