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Phoebe adds two critical care trucks to fleet

The critical care team at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital has added two new trucks to its fleet.

The critical care team at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital has added two new trucks to its fleet.

ALBANY -- In order to ease the stress being put on three transports, the critical care team at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital has added to its fleet.

Effective Monday, the team will have five trucks in service.

The move to purchase two more trucks was motivated by call volume having doubled over the last five years, said Virgil Anderson, a paramedic transport supervisor at Phoebe.

"There are a lot of areas in Southwest Georgia with small hospitals or no hospitals," Anderson said. "This will allow us to double the number of patients we carry at one time."

In the last year, the team has received 1,200 calls. Of those, 300 were neonatal cases and 250 were pediatric cases. With the addition of the new trucks, there will be two vehicles designated just for neonatal cases and three for pediatric and adult cases.

The additions consist of one neonatal truck and one pediatric and adult truck.

Rather than calling them ambulances, Anderson said it is more accurate to think of the vehicles as mobile intensive care units.

"Anything we can do in the truck they can do in the hospital," Anderson said.

Each truck carries three paramedics, and has the capacity to carry a nurse as well as a respiratory therapist.

The neonatal truck was purchased from funds provided by the Children's Miracle Network, while Phoebe purchased the other transport. Anderson could not put a dollar figure on the trucks, but said that such vehicles typically cost around $250,000 once they are fully outfitted.

Shelli Nichols, a nurse with Phoebe's neonatal intensive care unit, said the additions will help the hospital's staff serve patients more effectively in the long run.

"Having a new truck allows for a back-up," she said. "Sometimes there are so many calls coming in at once that we can't respond right away.

"The older truck has been in service a long time, and has a lot of miles on it. This truck will help us serve patients better."

The neonatal critical care transports at Phoebe serve 18 counties, while the transports for adults can travel anywhere they need to go, Anderson said.