Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Home / A–Z Services / Pediatric and Neonatal Transport / History of Transport at Children's Hospital
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History of Transport at Children's Hospital


Angel TransportIn 1972, with funding from a Regional Medical Program (MRP) grant, a program was initiated at Vanderbilt to provide perinatal consultation, perinatal education programs and to establish a neonatal transport service to our referral area. The NICU at the time consisted of 16 intensive care beds. Since neonatal services at regional hospital were in their infancy, the goal of the early transport team was to reach the infant as quickly as possible, transfer the infant to the mobile NICU and provide stabilization in the vehicle. The early versions of Angel Transport were designed with these goals in mind. The transport vehicle included open bed warmers so the team had access to the infant. All of the supplies needed to establish an airway or venous (or arterial) access were kept in the vehicle.

Angel Transport Radiant Warmer

During the first year in operation, Angel I transport team served 295 patients from the referral area. The standard transport team consisted of a Neonatologist, an R.N. with neonatal intensive care experience, and a driver who could also serve as an assistant to the team. The transport vehicle was equipped with ventilators and monitoring equipment including a blood gas analyzer.   Many of the referring hospitals at the time were unable to measure ABG's using micro sampling techniques. Initially, there was not a charge to the patient for the transport service.

Angel TransportIn 1980, Angel II replaced the original vehicle as the transport unit. This modified 28-foot motor home expanded the patient care area allowing for more equipment and room to move than its predecessor. The focus continued to be stabilizing the infant on-board. Like previous Angel Transport vehicles, the ventilators and most of the stabilization equipment were on the transport vehicle, including open bed warmers to work on and blood gas monitoring equipment. Some of the updates on this transporter included a hot and cold water supply, a refrigerator for storage of culture media and a mobile phone for quick communications with the referring hospital's nursery and Vanderbilt NICU. By this time, the average number of infants served was over 400 infants a year. Average mileage traveled was 30,000 miles.

Angel Transport IIIAngel III began servicing the middle Tennessee region in 1986 in a new streamlined Ford unit that was designed and modified specifically for Vanderbilt. With the increasing level of care in the regional hospitals, this new vehicle was designed with the idea of stabilizing the infant inside the referring hospital. Rather than having open bed warmers in the vehicle, the emphasis was on a specialized incubator that contained everything needed to stabilize and support a sick neonate during the transport process. Ventilators were built into the transport bed along with all monitoring equipment. The vehicle maintained a blood gas analyzer initially; this was later removed due to advancements in monitoring technology.

Angel Transport

In 1994, the fourth vehicle simply known as "Angel" debuted as the first to be built on a Freightliner truck chassis. It was also the first to be fully equipped to transport two newborn infants simultaneously at all times. 

Angel TransportAfter logging more than 2.5 million miles and bringing more than 8,500 critically ill newborns to Children's Hospital, the Newborn Emergency Transport Program celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1999. To help celebrate, a $250,000 custom-designed ambulance named "Guardian Angel" was put into service. Two additional seats behind the driver provide room for medical or nursing staff and students to ride along with the transport team which is composed of a  neonatal nurse practitioner or neonatology fellow, a neonatal intensive care nurse and a driver-assistant.

Angel 1

2009 marked the 35th anniversary off the neonatal transport program. We recently welcomed a new addition to our neonatal transport fleet - the "Angel 1" ambulance now serving Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.




May 1, 2013 we welcomed a new addition to our current fleet. "Angel 3" is a fully custom-designed ambulance that was made to meet the needs of our new Pediatric Transport Team. Also, as you can see we have updated our ambulance design as well.

Last Edited: July 5, 2016
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