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Aspirus Wausau Hospital transports record number of newborns this year

Sharon Thimmesch is an Aspirus Registered Nurse and NICU Transport Coordinator
Sharon Thimmesch is an Aspirus Registered Nurse and NICU Transport Coordinator

Aspirus Wausau Hospital’s NICU transported a record 62 newborns this year. The smallest weighed just 1.6 pounds.

Some of them were transferred into the Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

It’s a level III NICU that can handle premature newborns starting at 23 weeks gestation as well as term newborns with critical illness.

If the newborn needs a higher level of care than that, the transport team will transfer them to a higher level NICU at another hospital.

“The best thing that we can always do is transport mom and baby together while baby’s still inside. But if that doesn’t work out and we have to go get the baby, we’re well equipped. We basically have a NICU on wheels with our heated isolette and all the respiratory equipment and monitoring that we have with it. We’re able to support that infant whatever way we need to,” said Sharon Thimmesch, Aspirus Registered Nurse and Transport Coordinator.

The Aspirus team travels up to 200 miles to transport infants in Wisconsin and the U.P.

A neonatal transport team is comprised of a specialized group of nurses, respiratory therapists, nurse practitioners and neonatologists who monitor the newborns’ wellbeing throughout the journey.

“The team collaborates from the beginning as soon as we receive the phone call. The entire unit will work to get the transport isolette as well as all the medications that we need. There will be phone calls to the outlying hospitals to get additional information about the infants. Once we are set, we’ll call and update the hospital,” said Thimmesch.

The most NICU transfers Aspirus did in one month was 11 in July.

More than 68,000 transports to 940 NICUs occur each year in the U.S.