Our NICU Transport Team

Community Children’s at Community Medical Center has been caring for babies from across Montana for over forty years. While most of the smallest patients in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are delivered at Community Medical Center, many are born in outlying hospitals that lack the resources to care for them. In order to receive the highly specialized care they require to survive, infants are transferred to CMC by a dedicated team of nurses and therapists: our neonatal transport team.

Our team’s fourteen members––advanced practice nurses, registered nurses, and respiratory therapists––possess more than 200 years of combined experience. They utilize this experience to transfer an average of at least one patient every week, employing a specialized transport incubator complete with cardiac monitoring, IV pumps, and ventilator. The team cares for infants from as young as 23 weeks gestation up to approximately one month of age using this equivalent of a mobile NICU.

Our neonatal transport team has played a vital role in saving babies’ lives since the 1970s. Patti Doyle, the team’s longest-standing member, joined the group in 1982, eight years before the current team’s youngest member was born. Although the team was already well established when she joined, it was a far less formalized group than it is today. Doyle laughingly remembers flying a patient to Denver while wearing sandals and a dress. “If there was a patient who needed to be picked up, our manager just grabbed whichever nurse was available and told them to go,” Doyle recalls.

Today our team members wear Nomex flight suits and train extensively in the advanced skills required to stabilize and care for patients who can fit in the palm of your hand. Their wealth of knowledge, backed by a passion for caring for the smallest and most challenging patients, makes our CMC team one of the longest-standing specialized teams in the region. Respiratory therapist Allie Schweizer sums up the core belief driving the team’s mission: “it’s imperative that we’re the best at what we do––babies’ lives depend on us. Families depend on us.”

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