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AirMed Takes Emergency Newborn Care to the Sky

Andrea Smardon

A University of Utah AirMed team can now deliver emergency care to newborn babies. The perinatal team has just been licensed to transport babies from zero to 30 days, and they have a new larger helicopter for the necessary equipment.

University of Utah chief flight nurse Bart Chournos says he’s been treating pregnant mothers for 30 years. He travels by helicopter to expecting moms in need of urgent care at smaller, regional hospitals throughout the Mountain west.

“Sometimes by the time we get there, it’s too late, and the mom needs to be delivered,” Chournos says, but without a licensed neonatal team on board, they couldn’t transport the baby, and would have to call in for a separate flight team. Now with a properly-licensed three-person team, they can transport both mom and baby. “There isn’t anything that we can’t transport now that we have this neonatal team.”

University officials say the team uses the largest helicopter interior than any other in the State of Utah to hold neonatal equipment. They say they expect to transport about 1200 newborns and 200 pregnant mothers in a year.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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