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York Region prepares to roll out advanced mobile ICU for newborns

Last Updated Jan 27, 2018 at 7:25 pm EST

York Region paramedics are hoping a new mobile technology will give babies born prematurely or with health problems a better chance to survive and thrive.

Emergency workers in the region have teamed up with Markham Stouffville Hospital to begin using the latest in mobile incubator technology. The Airborne Voyager Transport System can be used to transport a baby in the back of an ambulance or by air.

“If we didn’t have it, it would cause delay in treatment and providing the best care that we can for these babies. They would not get the necessary tests and procedures done,” says Julia Infantino, of the Markham Stouffville Hospital.

The machine will be used to transport stable babies to community hospitals, or to SickKids Hospital. Markham Stouffville Hospital had a similar unit in the past, but updated safety regulations meant they had to take it out of use. For months, paramedics from SickKids have been driving up to Markham to pick up patients, and then back downtown.

With the new machine, which monitors and can adjust the baby’s temperature, as well as provide oxygen and intravenous medicine, York Region paramedics can simply pick patients up and head out to SickKids directly.

“It’ll definitely make it safer for our paramedics and for the babies being transported,” says Ryan Qualtrough, a platoon leader for York Regional Paramedic Services.

York paramedics are currently being trained on how to use the machine and ideally, will be fully briefed and ready soon. Nurses from Markham Stoufville Hospital will also be in the vehicle when patients are being transported.

“When Markham Stouffville is ready to start calling us to transport patients, we will be there,” says Qualtrough.

Editor’s Note: Clarifies from original story that the mobile incubator was the first of its kind in Ontario. Markham Stouffville Hospital is the first level 2 NICU to implement the new Airborne Voyager Transport System.