TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — They are a lifeline for families in the Big Bend. Everyday heroes transporting babies from area hospitals not equipped to treat them to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.
Meet the Neonatal Transport Team.
A baby at a hospital in a surrounding community is having a medical emergency and the facility isn't equipped to care for them, so they call TMH's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU, and their Transport Team is ready to go.
"Our Neonatal Transport team goes and picks those babies up from the outlying hospitals so that we can provide them with the care they need," said Dawn Smith, RN, BSN, with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at TMH.
"The babies they pick up are either born prematurely or full term, but are sick," said Stacie Forbes, RNC-NIC with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at TMH. "Lost time can mean the difference between life and death, so the transport team, in an ambulance, races against the clock to get the babies back to NICU safely and save their lives."
Members of the team we spoke to say it's for the families, the babies and their parents.
"They call us angels and when they call me an angel I love that. That's the best part of the job," said Forbes.
Forbes says another rewarding part of the job is seeing children that the team cared for years ago, graduate high school.
One in 10 babies born need a higher level of care from a NICU. TMH's NICU transports between 80 and 100 babies a year and is the only NICU in the region.