The March of Dimes is donating a new ANGEL II Neonatal Transport ambulance to Emory University's Regional Perinatal Center. The new ambulance, housed at Grady Memorial Hospital, will transport vulnerable premature newborns from hospitals throughout north Georgia to neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Atlanta-area hospitals.
The ANGEL II will be unveiled Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 8 a.m. at a press briefing in the North Atrium of the state capitol. As part of the March of Dimes 6th annual Prematurity Awareness Month, the agency will issue its first Premature Birth Report Card on the state of babies across the nation. In a presentation called "Solutions are Within Our Grasp," March of Dimes officials will share details on the growing crisis of premature birth, release Georgia's ranking in the nation and encourage families, public officials and community partners across the State to sign a recently launched Petition for Preemies.
Premature birth, the leading cause of death in newborns, remains a complex and costly national health problem. More than half a million babies are born prematurely each year, with roughly one in eight babies born too soon and too small.
Since 1976 two ANGEL II ambulances have transported an estimated 20,000 premature and ill babies. The vehicles are virtual neonatal intensive care units on wheels that are fully equipped to stabilize the most critical infants. The ANGEL II and its specialized team of caregivers, which average about 600-650 transports a year, can mean the difference between life and death for a critically ill infant. The newest ANGEL II replaces an older ambulance that has logged nearly 400,000 miles. "This new ANGEL builds on a 30-plus year history of uncompromising, unrelenting and unparalleled commitment to the babies in this state. ANGEL II moves sick babies from 40 counties in north Georgia to NICUs in the metro area," says William Sexson, MD, a neonatologist at Emory University School of Medicine and Grady Memorial Hospital and chair of the March of Dimes Prematurity Awareness Campaign.
Providing a safe and reliable means for the transport of sick babies aligns with the core mission of the March of Dimes - to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. To date, millions of babies in the U.S. have been saved from death or disability thanks to advances made by March of Dimes-funded programs. ANGEL II needs help to continue its mission. "We do so many transports each year we really need two new reliable ANGELs to effectively service the large area covered by the Emory Regional Perinatal Center," says Sexson. "The new ANGEL II is a phenomenal asset; our other transport ambulance has more than 300,000 miles. Another ANGEL is desperately needed so we can minimize breakdowns and avoid the very bumpy ride and potential breakdowns that can endanger these tiny babies during transport."