Santa Claus is coming to town early and he has a gift for some of Ontario’s youngest and most fragile babies.
Critically ill newborns from across Northern and Eastern Ontario who need the care of CHEO’s Neonatal Transport Team in their community – or who need to be brought to CHEO for specialized care – will now have their own team of reindeer. Thanks to a partnership between the Ottawa Paramedic Service (OPS) and CHEO, a dedicated vehicle for the emergency transport of newborns will hit the road in January.
This specialized ambulance will be recognizable by its CHEO logo and friendly teddy bear. It will be equipped with a special power lift to make it easier to get CHEO’s mobile incubator – and its precious cargo – into and out of the vehicle.
The partnership will help save time and money by moving the Neonatal Transport Team quickly to where they are needed and back, to be ready for their next deployment. Until now, the team would sometimes be left waiting in a community for their return ride from local emergency services. Having a dedicated vehicle will make this life-saving team more available to help newborns in distress.
Scottie’s Angels Fund has contributed generously through the CHEO Foundation to make this new project possible. Their support will help the Neonatal Transport Team be there for critically ill newborns with appropriate and timely care.
“For parents, there is no greater gift than knowing their babies will be well cared for,” said Alex Munter, President and CEO of CHEO. “This partnership between CHEO and the Ottawa Paramedic Service will help make that wish come true.”
“This specially designed transport unit, made possible through a partnership between the City of Ottawa and CHEO, will facilitate the care and transportation of our most critically ill and fragile patients. Along with the wonderful medical team from CHEO and our dedicated paramedics, newborns will benefit from this newly designed neonatal transfer unit, assuring the best care possible,” said Peter Kelly, acting Chief of the Ottawa Paramedic Service.
About 440 newborns with complex medical conditions have to be brought to CHEO’s and Kingston’s Neonatal Intensive Care Units every year, and many more are stabilized by the team and brought to nearby hospitals that can provide appropriate care. They may need surgical procedures and investigation by several specialists, or have significant congenital heart disease. Getting them specialized care quickly can prevent problems like developmental delay, motor and vision impairment, respiratory and neurological problems, as well as death.
In addition to serving the residents of Ottawa and Gatineau, the Neonatal Transport Team serves a region of almost 440,000 km2, with a population of 2,255,000 and about 23,000 births a year. The service operates in communities covered by the Champlain, South East and North East Local Health Integration Networks; its reach extends from Kingston and Belleville to the James Bay and Hudson Bay coast. More distant and remote areas are served by helicopter.
CHEO is a leader in newborn health and care for the severely ill. CHEO administers the Champlain Maternal Newborn Regional Program, which improves the health of mothers and newborns; BORN Ontario, which collects and interprets critical data about pregnancy, birth and childhood; the Regional Genetics Program, which offers prenatal genetic screening; and Newborn Screening Ontario, which screens every baby born in Ontario for early detection of treatable diseases.
The Ottawa Paramedic Service delivers medical treatment for life-threatening medical emergencies including heart attacks, strokes, respiratory and traumatic injuries and covers an area of 2,796 sq. km.
Ottawa's team of dedicated paramedics, communications officers, technicians and support staff form an integral part of the City's emergency services’ and preparedness team.