Transferring our most critically ill patients


Few things are more frightening than realizing your child is in medical danger – enough danger to seek admission at an emergency center for immediate, specialized care. It’s common for infants, children and pregnant women to fall critically ill unexpectedly; regular common causes for infants and children include premature birth, breathing problems, infections and trauma, while many expecting mothers face preterm labor, bleeding and infection.

Fortunately, Texas Children’s is equipped with a dedicated team of professionals who work behind the scenes to rapidly, yet smoothly transfer those seeking medical care to one of our emergency centers for treatment.

This is our state-of-the-art “central nervous system” – Mission Control.

Our Mission Control is a 3,500-square-foot physical hub of technology and digital screens, and the team inside operating it includes physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians, communication specialists and more – all available year-round, 24/7.

We receive a wide range of calls, from local emergency centers, to hospitals across the state and country, to even Central America. Many of our patients come from Houston and surrounding areas, but others travel long distances to access the distinguished care available at our main campus in the Texas Medical Center or one of our community campuses in Katy (West Campus) and The Woodlands.

If a child or expecting woman needs specialty care, their physician can call 877-770-5550 to transfer the patient to Texas Children’s Hospital or Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. Our team at Mission Control works with the doctor and medical team to transport the patient. Often, patients are well enough to come to our hospital by private car. Some might require a private ambulance.

Our sickest patients need to be transported by our Kangaroo Crew which operates a special fleet of expert-designed ambulances for trips under 100 miles. If patients require transport from more than 100 miles away, our customized Cessna Bravo jet is used. There’s a lot that makes our Kangaroo Crew special, but one of the most critical aspects is the team that comes in the transport vehicle. We have a highly-skilled transport team composed of an ICU nurse, respiratory therapist, emergency medical technician and an on-call ICU physician who communicates with the receiving Texas Children’s care providers.

While a physician must initiate this transfer process, as a family, you can request which hospital you’d like to be taken to. For serious emergencies, we recommend seeking the closest hospital. Rest assured, Mission Control at Texas Children’s is here to assist with transporting you or your loved ones to receive our phenomenal care whenever you need us.

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Mona L. McPherson, MD

Jeanine M. Graf, MD