American Family Children's Hospital

Pediatric Pathways: CHETA: Getting Sick Kids to Madison, Fast

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Emergency Response Teams: CHETA

When every minute counts and a very sick or seriously injured child needs life-saving attention, UW Health's American Family Children's Hospital in Madison provides emergency ground transportation from any community hospital or medical clinic.


"Our goal is simple," says Tom Brazelton, MD, pediatric critical care specialist. "We want to ensure the very best outcome for children who are critically ill or seriously injured, especially those who are not close to a full-service children's hospital."


CHETA (Children's Hospital Emergency Transport Ambulance) is a 24/7 Pediatric Intensive Care Unit on wheels specially equipped to support the needs of critically-ill and injured neonates and pediatric patients. Our CHETA team includes advanced-trained PALS-certified pediatric intensive care nurses and pediatric respiratory therapists who are ready to pick up a child any time, day or night.


CHETA includes state-of-the-art equipment needed to stabilize a child while en route to more specialized care. An isolette, pediatric ventilators, specialized equipment, medications and extensive monitoring equipment are on the vehicle. 


When should CHETA be called?


CHETA is available to pick up any child that is critically ill or seriously injured. Even if you are unsure about the child's level of illness, it is always a good idea to call and discuss the child's situation with our attending pediatric critical care physicians.


"We would always rather have the opportunity to discuss the child's situation with a local physician or hospital," Brazelton says. "The more information we have, the better we can mutually come to a decision that is in the child's best interest."


To Transport a Child


To have a child transported to American Family Children's Hospital or to speak with a pediatric critical care physician, call the Access Center at 1-800-472-0111.


Decisions regarding team composition and transportation mode will be made by the attending pediatric critical care physician based on the acuity of the patient, the comfort level of the referring physician, the availability of UW Med Flight and CHETA, and the distance of the patient from Madison.