MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – James Ernette and Cathy Richards are two members of the WVU Medical Child Transport Team. Her job involves saving children’s lives.
Ernette is a registered respiratory therapist and Richards is the nurse manager of the child transport team. They are responsible for transporting patients to the hospital through the use of a mobile critical care unit.
James Ernette, registered respiratory therapist, WVU Children’s Medicine
“I get to fly in helicopters,” Ernette said. “I get to take care of sick children. For me, there is nothing better or more rewarding.
Richards ’role is more than a supervisor. Her team affectionately calls her “Mama Cathy.”
“My job is to make sure everyone is trained, that everyone shows up on time,” he said. “I also work alongside them. I’ve been on the transportation team since 2006. And nursing in transportation has been my career in Canada as well as West Virginia, so I like to keep up. ”
Today, it means he still goes out and works alongside his different teams to keep up to date on paper and keep up to date on issues. He said he also wants to know what they are up to, how they work together and how to “provide the best possible care for children.”
Cathy Richards, nurse manager, child transport team
Richards shares with Ernette the constant desire to provide the best care to all patients. He also spends time keeping up to date on best practices in the medical field.
Whether on a plane or on the ground, Ernette said he and his colleagues who venture into the countryside always want to be prepared.
In the countryside, in what is known as the “base”, they have a helicopter, vehicles and all the equipment they could need.
This constant level of preparation, he said, is the secret to your success and to providing the best care.
“If we can’t fly, we go ashore, but anyway, it reduces our time at the door and we can get there even faster,” Ernette said. “We have two teams dedicated to getting out the door as soon as we can to transport our patient to our state-of-the-art units.”
Once patients arrive at WVU Medicine Children, it can still be very difficult for parents and families to cope with the situation of a hospitalized loved one.
That’s why, Richards said, the transportation team incorporates families into the treatment process.
Ernette and Richards at the WVU Medicine heliport
“If it’s a baby, if it’s a baby, obviously we’re concentrating everything we’re talking to the parents,” Richards said. “If he is a school-age child, we speak in their language, so that they can understand what is happening to them, and include their parents. Therefore, it is a family unit. It’s family-centered care. “
This focus on the family, he said, begins immediately when crews first arrive at any center that sends a patient for transportation.
“We start the culture right away,” he said. “When the transportation team arrives, we will not only take care of your child, but we will take care of you as a family, so it will continue once we get to WVUMC. The family is a unit and we try to take care of them as a family unit.”
Offering a high level of care that extends to patients ’families is only possible when people care about what they do. The proof lies in the fact that Richards and Ernette are passionate about their work.
They both describe their work as rewarding and said they are dedicated to doing what it takes to save lives and send patients home to their families.
“It simply came to our notice then. We can take this mobile critical care unit, we can start taking care of the patient there and bring him here for definitive treatment, ”said Richards. “So it’s a very rewarding job and I know I speak for the whole team, who feel rewarded every day when they come home.”
Finding pleasure in saving lives and constantly working to have knowledge, as well as being prepared to save even more people, is what some would call heroic.
Ernette and Richards talking at the heliport
But Richards and Ernette don’t see it that way.
“Do I feel heroic when I succeed? Yes. Do I feel like a hero? I feel like I’m just a man making his way in this world. It’s one of those situations where I feel like this job is what I’ve been called to do. They have planted me where I believe, through my faith, is where I need to be. So being a part of that helps me look at it as “well, you know, this is where you’re supposed to do what you’re supposed to do.” It’s nothing you think needs recognition. A simple “thank you” is good enough for me. “
James Ernette – Registered Respiratory Therapist, WVU Medicine Children
Richards said he didn’t necessarily dislike the label of a hero, he just felt like he wasn’t inclusive enough.
As cliché as it may sound, he said, “There’s no ‘me’ on the team.”
WVUMC partners with other agencies, such as Healthnet, Healthteam and Mon EMS. Plus, it’s just one person from a team full of registered nurses, respiratory therapists, advanced practitioners, even EBS staff members working to sanitize the team and prepare them for the next emergency.
“It’s everyone,” Richards said. “So when you say‘ hero ’it sounds unique, but this team are heroes in my book. And that’s the whole team. “
If you would like to designate a health care professional or professionals as Healthcare Hero, visit the Healthcare Heroes page on the 12 News website.