Upstate News

November 16, 1999
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Pediatric Transport Team at University Hospital Celebrates Fifth Anniversary With Appeal for More Nurses

The pediatric transport team at University Hospital–the only such team in the 17-county central New York region–is celebrating its fifth anniversary with an appeal for more nurses. Since its inception in 1994, the team has transported more than 500 pediatric patients to University Hospital. Last month, the team made 14 trips to area hospitals.

“We’re extremely busy,” said Leanna Severance, a registered nurse who manages the pediatric intensive care unit at University Hospital. “Currently we have nine registered nurses who handle all pediatric transports to our hospital. We would like to have additional nurses who are qualified to be part of this vital healthcare team.”

Because it is the only hospital between Albany and Buffalo with a pediatric intensive care unit, University Hospital receives many of the area’s critically ill children. To ensure the safe transport of these patients, University Hospital sends a specially trained nurse from the pediatric intensive care unit with the transporting ambulance crew.

“A nurse with pediatric ICU experience is especially sensitive to the needs of a critically sick child,” said Nancy Boeing, a registered nurse and transport team member. Nurses, in addition to having extensive pediatric experience, are required to undergo six months of training in transport medical care.

Transport team nurses are able to intubate a patient, perform an intraosseouss, where a needle is inserted into bone marrow to help identify a vein for IV access, and needle thoracentesis, in which a needle is inserted into the chest to drain fluids. Transport team members also bring with them special pediatric-sized medical equipment that is not standard equipment in most ambulances.

“Studies have shown that the risk involved with patient transport is much less when the appropriate medical professionals are part of the transport process,” said University Hospital physician Kevin Ragosta.

Having a qualified nurse participate in the transport of a patient enables University Hospital to begin caring for patients before they arrive in Syracuse. “We’re administering care enroute to our hospital and that gives us a head start on what sort of care we need for the patient when they arrive,” Ragosta said.

The transport team travels as far north as Massena Memorial Hospital, a six-hour round trip, including prep time at the hospital, and as far south as Arnot Ogden Hospital in Elmira.

“Our nurses also provide parents with piece of mind when they know a specially trained nurse is sitting in the ambulance caring for their child,” Severance said.

Members of University Hospital’s pediatric transport team are: Nancy Boeing and Lori Bristol of Syracuse; Joy Ganley, Warners; Sharon Luke, Baldwinsville; Lynn Malone, Liverpool; Brian Nichols, Cicero; Cheryl Pittman, Lacona; and Lorraine Saarie, Phoenix.

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