Prisma Health Midlands Foundation has recently launched a campaign to raise $425,000 to fund a new, specialized ambulance to transport critically ill children. More than $263,000 has been raised to date through the Foundation’s New Wheels For Precious Cargo campaign. The total cost of the ambulance and child-size stretchers is $425,000.
When babies are critically premature or when children are severely ill and at another hospital within a 16-county region of S.C., the Pediatric Transport team at Prisma Health—Midlands is called, no matter what time of day. Within minutes, the specialized care team travels in a critical care ambulance to the child to provide stabilization and safe transportation to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in Columbia. Prisma Health Children’s Hospital—Midlands and Prisma Health Richland Hospital have the only PICU and Level III NICU in a 16-county area of the Midlands region.
Last year, when Kara Jane Feagin, age 2, began fighting for each breath, she was taken to Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital in Sumter. The next day, when Kara Jane’s oxygen levels dropped, her care team called the Pediatric Transport team at Prisma Health Richland Hospital.
“When Kara Jane was loaded into the critical care ambulance, the Transport team kept me informed of her vitals and what it would be like once we arrived at the PICU at Children’s Hospital. I could hear them on the phone with hospital nurses the entire way, updating them on when we would arrive and how Kara Jane was doing,” said Kristen, Kara Jane’s mother. “Kara Jane spent 10 days in the PICU at Children’s Hospital. The Transport team checked in on her while we were there several times. They truly were her lifesavers. They are well-trained, and they responded quickly to my baby’s needs.”
Prisma Health has one of the only pediatric critical care transport teams in the state that can respond during natural disasters and in response to large-scale incidents in our area. When Hurricane Matthew threatened Hilton Head in 2016, the Prisma Health Transport team evacuated several babies to Children’s Hospital in Columbia. The Transport team has years of experience working with children with infectious diseases and has been regularly transporting children with COVID-19 to Prisma Health Children’s Hospital—Midlands in recent months.
The need to safely transport children, including premature babies, requires an ambulance equipped with the latest safety features and medical systems as well as two stretchers to which the infant isolettes mount, for transporting premature twins. The current critical care ambulance has space for only one isolette, has been on the road for more than six years and has logged nearly 200,000 miles.
“The critical care ambulance is a work truck. It has an important job to do,” said Aaron, Dix, executive director of Emergency Medical Services at Prisma Health. “This new ambulance will provide the safest environment for the most vulnerable babies and children, as well as space in the back for up to four clinicians to tend to premature twins. This team seeks to stabilize children while reducing fear and anxiety. The ambulance will include a drop-down DVD player, a special feature to help us distract a child who is anxious or in pain. We’re grateful to Prisma Health Midlands Foundation and all the donors who are helping us fund this important vehicle.”
“When the Prisma Health Midlands Foundation team shared the need for this new ambulance with the Foundation board of directors, we decided we need to move fast to meet this vital need and set a goal to raise full funding by Dec. 31,” said Reed Mattingly, chair, Prisma Health Midlands Foundation board of directors. “It’s been incredible to see the outpouring of support from generous donors who have helped us raise more than $263,000 so far. With additional support from our community, we’ll have the new ambulance on the road as soon as possible.”
Donations to the New Wheels For Precious Cargo campaign to fund a new critical care ambulance may be made at givePHCH.org. To learn more about how to support the campaign, contact Prisma Health Midlands Foundation—Anna Saunders, [email protected] or 803-414-9240; Diane Junis, [email protected] or 803-873-0254; or Katherine Davis, [email protected] or 803-730-2452.
About Prisma Health Midlands Foundation
Prisma Health Midlands Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, engages community partners to enhance health care for patients and families served by Prisma Health—Midlands. For more information, visit PrismaHealthMidlandsFoundation.org.