Johns Hopkins LifeLine transport team turns 40

By Melissa Eichman, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, September 04, 2017, 7:11 PM EDT

When the sickest and smallest children need transportation to the hospital, the LifeLine team at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital gets to work.

  • Johns Hopkins LifeLine transport team turns 40
  • LifeLine teams transports sick children 
  • LifeLine transports locally, across state, and internationally

"They can take care of everything from the smallest baby to the biggest football player in this country out of this country by ground, air or jet," said LifeLine Program Manager and Chief Nurse, Julie Bacon.

LifeLine celebrates forty years this year.

The program that started out as a neonatal transport team has grown and now helps children up to age 21. LifeLine has benefited countless families over the years, like the Martins and their son, Huntley.

"We didn’t know if he was gonna make it," said Huntley’s mother, Amy Martin. "A few hours after birth that’s when we realized he needed to be transported."

Huntley was flown to All Children’s Hospital from Sebring, that was five years ago.

Huntley Martin, now 5, being transported by LifeLine as a baby. (Courtesy: Amy Martin)

As LifeLine continued to grow, the team would get its own chopper.

“We’ve been flying for many years but we realized within the last year that we could respond better to our hospital if we had an aircraft sitting right on the roof giving us that fifteen minutes off the pad time,” said Bacon.

The Martins would be introduced to another form of LifeLine transport after Huntley got sick again.

“The ambulance came this time,” said Martin.

LifeLine has four ambulances. The newest might look like a big semi, but is built for the smallest baby.

"It’s designed to minimize vibration and to minimize sound so that we can protect their fragile little brains," said Bacon.

Fragile patients being transported on the ground and in the air.

LifeLine doesn't just transport locally and across the state, the team also flies internationally.

"It’s to Central America, Guatemala and to the islands and a lot of times those are for the neonates, for the really little babies,” said Bacon. “We have also gone to England and to Sweden."

No limits to transporting sick children. No limits as the team marks a milestone.

"At 40 years if not the oldest, we are right up there and probably one of the oldest in the country," said Bacon.

As the program grows, so do the children the transport team has saved. Today, Huntley is a healthy 5-year-old. He got to check out the new helicopter, like the one that transported him when he was a newborn. For Huntley, seeing a chopper was cool, for mom it was bittersweet.

Megan Monahan, LifeLine team member (left), and The Martin family (right). (Courtesy: Amy Martin)

"It brings you back to those emotions and to that time where you just don’t know what was gonna happen," said Martin. "We are just so grateful and those emotions come, too."

For the LifeLine team, it’s motivation to head out on that next call.

"It’s really why we do our job," said Bacon.