New Golisano Children's Hospital Ambulance

Every minute counts when a child needs emergency or urgent specialty care. Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida recently unveiled its new, state-of-the-art neonatal and pediatric ambulance that will provide safe, efficient and child-friendly ground transportation from hospitals throughout the region.

“The entire Golisano Children’s community is thrilled to have this wonderful, new ambulance in our fleet! Every bit of the design and functionality was done through the eye of the child, from the soothing, playful interior design to the video distraction enhancement. Additionally, state-of-the-art technology was incorporated in all elements of the build, including telemedicine capabilities, in order to provide the safest, absolute best care of babies and children moving from one level of care to another throughout Southwest Florida,” says Susan H. Ryckman, MSN,CPNP,CENP, Vice President, Patient Care Services for Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. “We are so very grateful for the amazing, generous support of SanCap Cares in making this dream come true!”

A virtual intensive care unit on wheels, the new ambulance and the Golisano Children’s Hospital transport team can ensure the highest skill and quality while moving children to a higher level of care. The new ambulance is equipped with telemedicine technology to afford the team the opportunity to directly communicate critical clinical information as needed while en route, and can virtually place the doctor on the ambulance during transport.

“Registered nurses and respiratory therapists with specialty training in neonatal and pediatric transport, along with licensed EMTs and paramedics, function under the direction of a neonatal or pediatric intensive care physician throughout the transport process,” says Marybeth Gardner, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Transport Coordinator. They were also instrumental in helping decide the design and layout of the ambulance to include top-of-the-line medical equipment presented in a way that was kid-friendly.

“It’s been fun the whole process seeing it go from a vision to real life and then getting to see the kids’ faces light up as they come inside,” says Niki Shimko, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Transport Coordinator.

A calming, child-friendly interior helps decrease anxiety in an otherwise stressful experience. “Medical equipment is concealed behind cabinet doors, a DVD player serves as a familiar distraction and the decor of the walls and ceiling were painted in a bright, cheerful beach and sky theme that incorporates the logos of both Golisano Children’s Hospital and SanCap Cares,” explains, James Hammond, EMT Paramedic and Lead Driver.

Purchasing the ambulance was made possible thanks to SanCap Cares. Co-chairs Amanda Cross, Dorothy Fitzgerald and Mike Mullins and their hardworking committee held the event which raised funds for the ambulance through the generosity of the Sanibel-Captiva community. Fourteen years of contributions from this annual event have helped Golisano Children’s Hospital continue to provide great resources to the community so that families can receive lifesaving medical care close to home.

“This hospital is critical to the community, and to the welfare of the children who live and visit here. I don’t think people realize the difference in caring for children compared to adults, and the ambulance in particular will help children and babies that need the highest level of care by facilitating their transport safely,” says Fitzgerald. “The generosity of the people of the islands helped to make this happen, helped to make it a reality. It truly is a community effort.”

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