Teddy Bear Transport soars to new heights
The Cook Children’s Teddy Bear Transport team knows each other all too well. Even during the height of an emergency situation, the precision involved in caring for a child is impeccable. They are all highly, skilled professionals. But the truth behind their excellence is a matter of timing.
The Transport team, made up of 54 pediatric nurses, respiratory therapists, paramedics and communications specialists serve more than 2,400 families from around the region every year.
“We’ve been working together since the beginning,” said Debbie Boudreaux, director of the Cook Children’s Teddy Bear Transport. “In fact some of our team members have double digit employee numbers.” With more than 400 years of combined experience this team is a valuable asset to the medical community.
The team became even closer when they were moved under one location at the hangar at Meacham International Airport in 2011. Previously, Transport was spread out with its plane in one location, the helicopter somewhere else and the staff and ambulances at another location.
Team members are also committed to clinical exposure through weekly shifts at Cook Children’s Medical Center. The time at the medical center helps team to stay on top of their skills, improve their knowledge and build stronger relationships with the staff at the medical center.
A nurse educator helps the Transport staff and reaches out into the community to provide education to referring hospitals. “We want to give hospitals the tools to help stabilize patients until our team arrives to help,” Boudreaux said.
In addition to teaching area hospitals, the team members are also attending class themselves. “90% of our transport nurses/respiratory therapists have received their Certificate of Added Qualification in Neonatal Pediatric Transport (C-NPT),” Boudreaux said. “We are committed to being the best we can be for our patients and we intend to keep soaring to new heights.”
Cook Children’s Medical Center is supported by one of the United States’ largest pediatric transport programs. Most of the children transported to Cook Children’s Medical Center are for critical care. Services provided by the transport team include five ambulances, an EC 145*, a Beechcraft King Air 200 Twin Engine Turbo Prop and the Citation Encore Plus*.
In April 2014, the team expanded their fleet with a new Citation Encore Plus Jet. The new aircraft is special, providing its crew shorter travel times, a greater reach and more efficiently placed equipment to get critical need patients to Cook Children’s faster.
The new jet, made possible by a generous gift from a donor, also provides capacity for two parents to be transported with the patient, if needed. The current plane only has room for one.
And the new jet can get to these patients faster than ever before. Transport will shave an entire hour off round trip when traveling to Odessa. The flight will take 45 minutes each way.
Plus, this new plane can travel nearly 1,400 miles farther in a day than the previous plane because it doesn’t have to refuel as often. Without the delay to get fuel, Transport will not be as restricted due to pilot duty time either.
“We have a highly, trained and experienced staff,” Boudreaux said. “But that doesn’t mean we rest on our laurels. We continue to find new and exciting ways to care for our patients and our community, whether it’s through our education efforts or our new equipment, such as the jet, we will always work together to keep the Cook Children’s Promise ‘to improve the health of every child in our region through the prevention and treatment of illness, disease and injury.’
* Aircraft operated by Metro Aviation, Shreveport, Lousiana.