We had quite a winter storm come through here over the weekend. Tough for a doc like me being on call trying to get to and from work - although I'm less than 5 miles from the hospital. As I was scanning the medical news, I saw this story from ABCNews from last week.
Tuesday morning, a 2-pound baby named Dorotea Orgovanyi was born at 6:10 a.m. in Mount Pleasant, Iowa — three months premature and about 50 miles away from desperately needed treatment at University of Iowa Hospitals. Studies show that risk of death increases significantly when a preterm baby is born in a small hospital that does not have the specialized facilities for the tiny patients.Our hospital here is a small community hospital. And, I take care of newborns. Although I cannot exactly relate to this situation, I can definitely imagine what this small hospital was going through. We don't routinely take care of preemies. We stabilize them until an ambulance with neonatal specialists can get there and take over care. As for this case, great job docs!
Under normal conditions, an ambulance or helicopter would have transported a special response unit to pick up Dorotea. But an ice storm made it difficult for the University of Iowa's Air Care helicopter and the ambulance to attempt such a dangerous trip. Travel advisories broadcast across the state warned people to stay off the dangerous roads.
Knowing the small community hospital in Henry County didn't have the facilities to treat the preemie, Mike Acarregui and John Dagle, neonatal doctors at the University of Iowa, took action.
Acarregui grabbed a rescue pack and the two doctors drove Acarregui's Audi four-wheel-drive sedan to pick up Dorotea and bring her to Iowa City. Meanwhile, doctors in Mount Pleasant improvised their own resources, rebuilding a warming bed in an ambulance for the baby to use on the trip back to Iowa City.