Hospital warms up for ‘preemies’

| 09/10/2011

(CNS): The Health Services Authority (HSA) will be able to improve outcomes and take care of more premature babies with the donation of a new infant warmer to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The state of the art equipment will assist medical staff to take care of even very sick babies. Dr Marilyn McIntyre, a paediatrician at the George Town hospital explained that the new equipment has several additional benefits that its predecessors in the Unit were not equipped with. “Most important, this equipment enables us to care for very ill newborn babies within a warm enclosed environment similar to the mother’s womb, without exposure to changes in external temperature or possible infection,” she added.

“Monitors record the heart rate, respiratory rate, and record the oxygen saturation in the baby’s blood. An attached phototherapy unit can administer light therapy to jaundiced babies whilst they are protected within the warmer.

“Likewise, combined within the warmer are oxygen and suction equipment, which means that infants born by Caesarean section who need these options can be transported back to the NICU for special care whilst remaining a totally enclosed safe environment. The new Infant Warmer is a valuable addition to the care and outcome of the babies within the NICU,” the specialist said.

The device, which works to deliver an optimal thermo-neutral environment to prevent premature babies from cold or heat stress, contains ceramic heater elements and golden reflectors which provide even heat distribution over the entire bed  as well as a fully integrated heated conductive gel mattress to keep the baby warm at all times.

Dr. Greg Hoeksema, the HSA’s Medical Director said the hospital had been challenged this year to provide all its own capital funding, s donations such as this have proved vital to help it purchase new equipment. This latest donation combined with the hard work of staff meant that the unit was able to care of more babies than ever before.

“This equipment, which measures a baby’s central and peripheral temperature, gives you an early warning of thermal instability or possible cold stress by observing the measured values on the digital display,” the doctor explained.  “This is vital when taking care of premature babies as one of the major problems is that their brains have not developed enough to control their body temperatures.   As the brain eventually develops, so will its capability to understand its own feedback to warm or cool and maintain a core body temperature.” 

The infant warmer was presented to the NICU by Rotary Sunrise and the Genesis Trust but motivated by Paul and Emma Drake who previously had an infant who required support in the unit.  The couple was so impressed and moved by the level of care given to their premature baby that they wanted to give something back. Drake, who is the Managing Director of GenesisTrust & Corporate Services Ltd. and member of Rotary Sunrise pulled it all together. 

“Rotary Sunrise put up about 50% of the money needed to buy this equipment while Genesis Trust matched it,” he said.  The final money needed came from the Triathlon Association; proceeds from the Genesis Trust Duathalon – $2000, was donated to complete the necessary funding.  We are happy to see our efforts make this a reality for the H.S.A. and future preemie patients.”

The machine is already being used to care for premature newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Health Services Authority.

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