Critical transport equipment saving newborns


When an infant has a health emergency, there isn’t a second to waste. Treating the delicate system of a newborn requires special medical equipment and expertise that are not readily available in rural areas, making time even more critical.

Funds raised by the TMC Mega Raffle supported the purchase of a new infant transport isolette, a mobile NICU designed to keep newborns alive while they are transported to receive intensive care.

“It’s about saving a life,” explained Pat Brown, R.N., the TMC director of women and children’s services. “The incubator is used to control temperature, oxygen and other critical care needs.”

A highly trained NICU nurse and respiratory specialist from TMC accompany first responders to provide care for the infant.

Amanda Schmieder, R.N., a TMC NICU transport nurse, said the isolette helps the precious and fragile babies survive until they can reach a NICU center. “Families are trusting us with their newborn’s life and we take it very seriously,” Schmieder explained.

“Having a critically ill infant is traumatic and the families are so grateful that their child arrived safely – it’s very rewarding for us.”

As technology quickly marches forward, vital parts and electronics can quickly become obsolete. “The equipment needs to be reliable so we can do our part to care for the infant,” said Suzanne Knepper, R.N., also a TMC NICU transport nurse.

The isolette requires investment, and when it was time to be replaced, the TMC NICU knew they could rely on their partnership with the TMC Foundation.

“We’re so thankful for the support of the Mega Raffle and the TMC Foundation,” Brown said. “The isolette is an essential part of NICU care that makes it possible to safely transfer a newborn from rural areas in Southern Arizona to the needed hospital.”

Tucson may be the first word in TMC’s name, yet the community-owned hospital’s mission goes further. “Mega Raffle resources have made it possible for TMC to extend life-saving care throughout the region we serve,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “Thanks to the generous support of Mega Raffle donors, our rural care partners can count on TMC to be an active part of addressing Southern Arizona’s care needs.”