New Medical Transport Program to deliver pregnant moms in crisis, handle emergency births

The service will arrange transport for moms with high-risk prenatal needs by specially trained personnel to the specialized labor and delivery unit at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, provide safe, quick, and easy transport arrangements for mom, and ensure access of the infant to the newborn intensive care unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, if needed.

“Traditional transport services are designed to handle a mom requiring a higher level of care,” says Michael Nelson, MD, vice chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine and the medical director of the Maternal-Fetal Transport Team. “This will also take into account the baby’s needs should there be an emergency delivery along the way.”

Moms requiring emergency transport include those with pre-eclampsia, pre-term labor and any other health conditions that complicate pregnancy.

Each transport team will include a high-risk obstetrical nurse from Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and a neonatal nurse and paramedic from St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Transport is provided 24 hours a day by ground or air by one of three mobile intensive care units (MICUs), the KidsFlight 1 and 2 helicopters, and KidsFlight 3, a fixed-wing aircraft dedicated to transporting maternal fetal patients and critically ill newborns and children.

Based on the needs of the referring community, the service predicts to have three to four transports a day by the middle of next year.

“It’s never optimal to separate mother and child,” says F. Sessions Cole, director of newborn medicine at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “A maternal-fetal transport ensures mother and baby remain connected after delivery, and that baby’s needs are accounted for even before delivery.”

The new transport service is an extension of an existing relationship between Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s Hospitals for fetal and newborn care. In 2010, both institutions along with Washington University School of Medicine, launched the Fetal Care Center, a comprehensive center that offers advanced fetal diagnosis, surgical interventions before and after birth, and newborn medicine all on one campus.


Barnes-Jewish Hospital is a 1,288 bed teaching hospital affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. The hospital has a 1,763 member medical staff, with many recognized as “Best Doctors in America.” Barnes-Jewish is a member of BJC HealthCare, which provides a full range of health care services through its 13 hospitals and more than 100 health care sites in Missouri and Illinois. Barnes-Jewish Hospital is also consistently ranked as one of America’s “Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

St. Louis Children’s Hospital has provided specialized care for children for more than 130 years. Both US News & World Report and Parents magazine rank St. Louis Children’s among the Top 10 pediatric hospitals in the nation. In 2010 the hospital received the Magnet re-designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence. St. Louis Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine, one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation. The hospital is a member of BJC HealthCare. For more information, visit, or visit us @STLChildrens on Facebook and Twitter.

Nick McLaren
Manager, Public Relations at Barnes-Jewish Hospital
[email protected]

Jackie Ferman
Manager, Media Relations at St. Louis Children’s Hospital
[email protected]