Patti Larkin, RN, has been a nurse at CHOP for 32 years, including 21 in Transport. Her partner in the 9 a.m. shift, Rosa Morelli, RN, has been at CHOP for 2½ years. The Transport Team receives about 300 emergency transport calls each month. This is a day in their life.
The alarm goes off for Larkin, who lives in Maryland with her 7 (yes, 7) Labrador retrievers. She makes breakfast for herself and her dogs, then gives them some outdoor time.
Larkin embarks on her 90-minute drive to CHOP.
Morelli wakes up at her home in Philadelphia.
Morelli catches the bus.
Larkin and Morelli check in with intake nurse Diane Gardella, RN, to see if there are any immediate transports.
Morelli and Larkin pack the blue primary bag with the essential items for transport, including an IV kit, an i-STAT handheld blood analyzer and a glucometer. It also holds the STAT bag, containing narcotics and resuscitation drugs. Antibiotics, a difficult airway kit and a secondary bag with extra equipment are already in the ambulance.
Morelli heads to the cafeteria — but doesn’t get far. Their first call has come in.
Gardella gives Morelli and Larkin details of their first transport from Phoenixville Hospital — a 7-month-old with an ALTE (apparent life-threatening event). The team holds a safety huddle to plan for anything that might occur during the transport — such as the baby stopping breathing.
Pull out of the CHOP parking lot with EMT and driver Kevin Price.
Arrive at Phoenixville. Larkin talks to Mom. “He just went very pale — then limp like a noodle,” Mom says. The baby, who has been napping, wakes and dazzles everyone with his smile.
Larkin and Morelli contact CHOP’s Medical Command Physician to review the baby’s assessment and plan for care en route. Meanwhile, the infant seems fascinated by Price, who wheels him to the ambulance. “You making eyes at Kevin, sweetie?” asks Larkin.
Arrive at CHOP. The team takes the baby to the 7th floor for handoff.
Larkin scans in the report while Morelli restocks equipment.
Morelli and Larkin grab salads from the cafeteria.
The team gets their next transport: a 3-month-old baby at Shore Memorial — a prior patient in CHOP’s Cardiac Center.
Ambulance leaves CHOP. Morelli calls for details on the baby’s cardiac issues and discusses the transport plan. Will he need oxygen? Will his airway require support? “He has more wrong with his heart than right.”
Driver Price slams on the brakes. “Call 911! There’s a multiple-car accident!” A minivan is overturned on the expressway; two other cars are damaged. Morelli and Larkin assist injured passengers, helping one who is in the middle of the highway to the roadside, until police and EMTs arrive.
Arrive at Shore Memorial. Dad explains his son is having trouble breathing and has a persistent cough.
In the ambulance, Dad suggests putting the baby on his belly. “He hates lying on his back.” Larkin and Morelli reposition the infant and he falls asleep.
Arrive at CHOP where Cardiac nurses are waiting to greet the baby. “Look how big you got!”
Transport from St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children: an 18-year-old bone marrow transplant patient with fever, rash and cough — possible signs of graft vs. host disease.
En route to St. Chris.
Arrive at St. Chris. Larkin and Morelli assess the patient, who is alert, her neck swollen and firm. After taking her clinical information, they help her onto the stretcher and head out.
Arrive with patient at 3 South Oncology Unit.
Larkin and Morelli restock the bags and the truck. Larkin makes sure staffing is set for the week. Morelli calls an Uber.
Morelli arrives home. She relaxes with her cat, Quinn, and has some cheese and crackers. She talks to a friend on the phone and reads Committed before falling asleep.
Larkin arrives home. Two of her dogs jump in the pool. The others run around the yard. Larkin has a bowl of cereal and watches TV to unwind.