Mercy Health launches new mobile NICU


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Mercy Health has a new way to transport its tiniest patients in need of more care.

The Mercy Health Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) staff has a new ambulance that’s a portable NICU.

It’s a new transport service for Mercy Health, allowing staff to move babies who need more care from the Mercy Health Hackley Campus to Mercy Health St. Mary’s in Grand Rapids, which is a designated Level III NICU.

“We’re able to provide seamless care,” said Jette Benson, the NICU Transport Coordinator for Mercy Health. “Our nurses monitor vital signs every five to 15 minutes, our respiratory therapists monitor every 15 minutes and if anything changes they’ll pull over and re-evaluate the baby.”

A couple dozen staff members including nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists have been trained to work in the moving space while on the road.

The new ambulance is fully equipped to deal with any situation.

There’s a special fluid-based mattress to warm a baby’s temperature, a blanket warmer on board, a refrigerator for medication and many tools to provide care for NICU babies.

Benson said the mobile NICU allows them to continue caring for the babies within their hospital system, providing collaborative medical care.

“It means the same physicians who cared for them at birth can care for them here at St. Mary’s and the same nurse practitioner the family saw the first time, they’re going to see them here,” Benson said.

Since the Mercy Health NICU staff launched its new transport service about two weeks ago they have transported three babies.

The staff estimates they’ll care for as many as 50 to 60 babies a year in the new ambulance.

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