Doctors and nurses at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale conducted a drill in dealing with babies and mothers in distress.
Tuesday's mock scenario - in collaboration with St. Louis Children's Hospital - involved a baby with an abdominal wall defect in which the intestines are outside the body.
Sam Julian is a neonatal doctor at St. Louis Children's Hospital. He says Memorial Hospital's staff does a great job of stabilizing babies, but occasionally they need services at a higher level of care.
"We're sort of mocking through a baby that sort of meets all those criteria. So, a baby that comes in, has a critical story, needs extensive resuscitation, and subsequent transfer up to St. Louis."
Memorial neonatal doctor Tomas Munoz says the drill helped them determine what challenges there would be in dealing with this type of emergency.
"It let us iron out some kinks and help us be prepared. I'm very confident that if the situation does arise, which is a very difficult one, we will be more than ready to jump in and right away take the very best care of this baby."
The drill was supposed to involve a helicopter to make the situation as real as possible. But, the helicopter did not arrive because it was called to assist a real life patient.
Memorial Hospital's OB-Peri-Natal outreach coordinator is Sherry McSwain.
"What's important about that is because, as we know, it's over 2 hours to drive to Barnes (Jewish Hospital). But, it is not that far, in length of time, if we have a helicopter come down and take care of that mom and/or that baby."
McSwain says the goal of every birth is a healthy mom and healthy baby...but sometimes that's not possible because of medical issues with the baby.
"And by doing the drills day-in, day-out, and when we live that mantra, it becomes second nature."
McSwain says on average, Memorial Hospital of Carbondale's neo-natal unit transfers two to three patients per month to St. Louis.