The medical staff at Ochsner is used to having a sick baby transported to them by ambulance or flight, but never dozens all in one day. So Thursday, it was all hands on deck in preparation of day to come.
The activity in the Ochsner NICU today is real. The nurses, doctors, ambulance paramedics, and the equipment. The only thing not real are the babies. But soon, these plastic babies will be real ones, babies with birth defects, lung and heart problems, underweight from being born prematurely. All this activity and precise timing has a purpose. Maternity services are being moved from the Ochsner main campus on Jefferson Highway to its new, bigger, more modern home at the uptown Baptist campus.
"Babies that are on ventilators or breathing machines, will require nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners, respiratory therapist, so we're going to be catering every baby's needs," explained Dr. Harley Ginsberg, the Medical Director of the Ochsner Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Section Head of Neonatal Medicine.
"They're not sure exactly how many babies they're going to have to move from the NICU. Usually in this unit there are around three dozen or so patients. But on rare, acute occasions, it has been even higher.
Thursday is a practice for the Dec. 1 move.
"We've deliberately picked the day where the Saints are out of town, so we don't have traffic on the way to the Superdome," said Dr. Ginsberg.
The move could take 10 to 12 hours. There will be three ambulances going back and forth between the two hospitals, transporting four babies at a time.