New Kids Kare helicopter takes flight for Wolfson Children’s Hospital

Air Methods Press Release | November 23, 2020

Estimated reading time 5 minutes, 4 seconds.

Critically ill and injured infants and children throughout the southeastern United States now have expanded access to the expert pediatric care of Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville through a new Kids Kare helicopter. The helicopter, which is the latest addition to Wolfson Children’s Critical Care Transport Fleet, is dedicated solely to infants and children, staffed with a highly trained clinical flight crew, and has advanced medical capabilities. Along with Kids Kare Mobile Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and a fixed-wing aircraft that are part of the Transport Fleet, the new helicopter is being used for interfacility transport to bring patients from other hospitals in the region to Wolfson Children’s.

The new Kids Kare helicopter has the same child-friendly underwater design as the iconic Wolfson Children’s Kids Kare Mobile ICUs. Bold City Graphics Photo

The Kids Kare helicopter carries pediatric-specific medical equipment for advanced life support, including:

  • Advanced monitoring
  • Defibrillator/pacemaker capability
  • Advanced airway management equipment
  • Isolette for newborns to regulate body temperature
  • Nitric oxide

The new Kids Kare helicopter is fully equipped with all medications and supplies needed to treat a critically ill or injured infant or child during transport. The helicopter also includes a satellite phone to ensure constant communication between the crew and pediatric physician specialists at Wolfson Children’s during transport. It is staffed 24/7 by a Wolfson Children’s crew consisting of:

  • A neonatal/pediatric transport-certified respiratory therapist
  • A neonatal/pediatric transport-certified registered nurse
  • A pilot.

With the addition of the Kids Kare helicopter, the Wolfson Children’s Critical Care Transport Fleet is now comprised of a dedicated helicopter, fixed-wing airplane and three Kids Kare Mobile ICUs.

Amanda Kellum, director of the Kids Kare Critical Care and Trauma Transport Program at Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville, said, “Our transport fleet currently serves more than 1,800 infants and children every year, and with this new helicopter, our crucial services are even more accessible to children and families from throughout the North Florida and South Georgia areas.”

“As the region’s only state-designated Pediatric Trauma Center, we are committed to caring for the most vulnerable children of all ages,” said Wolfson Children’s Hospital President Michael D. Aubin, FACHE. “Our pediatric specialists are experts in their fields and are trained to provide life-saving care for even the most serious and complex cases.”

Wolfson Children’s Hospital is part of Baptist Health, the region’s most comprehensive health care provider. Air Methods, a leading air medical service provider in the U.S., provides the aircraft and aviation services for Life Flight, the fleet of helicopters deployed by Baptist Health. Life Flight celebrated its 40th anniversary this past August.

Life Flight and the Wolfson Children’s helicopter, fixed-wing aircraft and Mobile ICUs adhere to strict COVID-19 protocols for every transport, including full personal protective equipment (PPE) for crews and decontamination of the aircraft and vehicles after every transport.

“The impact of the lifesaving care offered through our partnership with Wolfson Children’s and Baptist Health cannot be overstated,” said Trevor Hicks, regional business manager with Air Methods. “When children and infants require urgent care, seconds can impact outcomes. Air medical services mean that these young patients are transported quickly to the children’s hospital that can serve them best and where they will receive the best prehospital care available.”

Services provided at Wolfson Children’s Hospital are provided primarily by pediatric physician specialists with Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (for cardiac surgery services) and Emergency Resources Group.

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