Wawa Foundation purchases new equipment for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit’s Patient Transport Program

The Wawa Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies at a small reception in the Walt Disney World Resort® Grand Atrium at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children on Monday, February 6, 2017. This critical funding strengthens the vital transfer process of high-risk neonatal patients from one facility to another to obtain lifesaving specialty care.

Each year, the Alexander Center for Neonatology at Winnie Palmer Hospital cares for an average of 120 patients per day, and approximately 1,600 admissions per year at its 142-bed facility. About 200 of these babies arrive via the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Patient Transport Program because of medical, surgical, or rapidly emerging perinatal/postpartum complications. Transport vehicles bring babies from referring facilities located in 19 counties across the Central Florida region. The team’s ground transports generally fall within a 150-mile radius, although round-trips to Miami as well as places like Jacksonville and Gainesville have been made, too.

Over the years, optimum neonatal transportation has remained an important component for perinatal care, and the use of transport incubators for safely transporting the most vulnerable patients from one location to another are an essential need. To ensure this critical need is met the Wawa Foundation is helping to build the NICU Patient Transport Team’s capacity with a customized incubator.

The incubator is being a self-contained, thermos-controlled unit that rolls easily into small nurseries and carries every kind of monitoring and support device needed while on transport. For example, the incubator will allow the team to utilize a ventilator and nitric oxide used in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension, invasive cardiac and blood pressure monitoring, and carry air and oxygen tanks below the infant compartment to customize oxygen delivery based on the needs of the patient.

Wawa and the Wawa Foundation have had a long history of supporting children and families and began a commitment to support Winnie Palmer Hospital prior to opening the first Florida store in July 2012. The NICU environment continues to emerge as the region’s highest specialized care for neonatal patients, Wawa and Wawa Foundation will be at the forefront in helping to ensure that the NICU at Winnie Palmer is strong and second to none.

“The work being done every day at Winnie Palmer is truly incredible and we are honored to support the tremendous NICU team and help some of Central Florida’s tiniest and most vulnerable patients,” said Chris Gheysens, Wawa’s President and CEO. “Our partnership with Winnie Palmer is a wonderful example of The Wawa Foundation’s core purpose – to fulfill lives every day, by building stronger communities. We are proud to continue to provide meaningful support through our foundation, and thank the team at Winnie Palmer Hospital for the lifesaving work they continue to provide the community.”