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GMC introduces neonatal ambulance

Staff Photo: Tyler Estep
 Carol Danielson, the chief nursing officer for Gwinnett Medical Center, speaks Tuesday at the christening of a new ambulance for GMC’s neonatal intensive care unit. 

Staff Photo: Tyler Estep Carol Danielson, the chief nursing officer for Gwinnett Medical Center, speaks Tuesday at the christening of a new ambulance for GMC’s neonatal intensive care unit. 

LAWRENCEVILLE — Gwinnett Medical Center got a new ambulance Tuesday, one meant to help the smallest of patients.

As part of the 20th anniversary celebration for GMC’s Women’s Pavilion, the ambulance will help transport patients to and from the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, which cares for sick and premature newborns.

The ambulance, donated by Pro Care, was blessed with a special prayer before neonatologist Dr. Dan Suskin christened it with the traditional breaking of a champagne bottle.

“It speaks to the partnership that we have with Pro Care, and we’ll also be able to provide safer transport of our neonates,” said Carol Davidson, GMC’s chief nursing officer.

“It just has a lot more bells and whistles.”

The NICU ambulance was brought down from Minneapolis, Minn., before being refurbished and repainted. It is now decked out with specialized resources like incubators and ventilators, as well as things in any other ambulance that have been sized down to accommodate the babies it will transport.

Gwinnett Medical’s NICU required 88 transports in 2010, a number that includes transports to GMC’s top-notch facilities from other metro area hospitals, as well as trips from GMC to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

An NICU registered nurse and neonatal respiratory therapist will accompany ambulance drivers on every trip.

“This is a statement of belief by the community in what we do,” said neonatologist Dr. Leslie Leigh.

GMC’s Women’s Pavilion was founded in 1991 to address the evolving needs of women over their lifetime, including mammography, imaging, pregnancy and delivery services.

Since its founding, more than 97,000 babies have been delivered there.

Tuesday’s dedication signified another step in the growth of the pavilion, as staff members blessed the ambulance by reading a specially written prayer aloud.

“Most of all,” the prayer said, “bless the little ones and this, their ambulance, God’s own ark of safety.”