General News

STORK Team Flies Babies to NICU on Expert Wings

Posted on Jun 14,2016

When babies are born prematurely or have other conditions that need the expert care of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, every moment counts to ensure the best chance for survival.  Enter the STORK Team. This team is a group of NICU-experienced, specially trained professionals who attend premature and high risk deliveries at Bayfront Baby Place, located within Johns Hopkins All Children’s. Parents and medical staff alike depend on this highly skilled team to transport these fragile infants from Baby Place to the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital NICU.

“Ninety percent of all births are uncomplicated. People have healthy happy newborns all the time,” explains Judy Clements, R.N., Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital NICU and STORK Team member. “We are here for that 10 percent who need a little extra help in the beginning.”

For a premature newborn or a newborn with a serious condition, the first hour of life, also known as the golden hour, can make the difference between a good outcome, a poor outcome and death. For the STORK Team, this first hour is 60 minutes of team-oriented and task-driven procedures. The focus is on conditions that are detrimental to the newborn, including:

  • The need for resuscitation
  • Regulation of body temperature
  • Low blood sugar management 

The STORK Team begins the process to correct these conditions and will help out with the admission process. The Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital NICU is just a short elevator ride away from the delivery room. In most cases the Team will arrive in the NICU within 15-20 minutes after delivery, though the exact length of time depends on the amount of immediate care the infant needs.

The Team consists of three core roles, each requiring special experience in neonatal intensive care.  To ensure that the team is competent in all critical situations, regular training sessions take place in a high-tech simulation lab on the Johns Hopkins All Children’s campus. Key STORK Team members include a:

  • Registered Nurse. The RN must be experienced in Level III Neonatal Intensive Care, neonatal resuscitation program (NRP) certified and comfortable in critical/code situations.
  • Respiratory Therapist. The RT must also be experienced in Level III Neonatal Intensive Care, NRP certified, and proficient in intubations.
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner or Neonatologist. 

This specialized team of professionals is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is ready to respond in minutes if a baby needs their care. If the mother’s care provider knows before delivery of conditions that that will affect the health of the baby, the STORK Team can be alerted in advance and prepare to fly into action. Sometimes, however, the need for the STORK Team may not be known until after the baby is delivered. They respond to any delivery where the baby is having trouble transitioning. The Team also transfers babies from the nursery to the Johns Hopkins All Children’s NICU if they develop problems before they go home.
For many families, the presence of the STORK Team can make all the difference. They are a vital link between the delivery room and the advanced technology and care in the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital NICU.

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