Parents of a premature baby were so impressed by the care given at public hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that they organised fundraising to buy an infant warmer for the hospital.
Paul and Emma Drake, whose premature baby had previously been in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, wanted to give something back, so Mr. Drake, who is managing director of Genesis Trust and Corporate Services Ltd., and a member of Rotary Sunrise, worked with both organisations to raise funds to buy the equipment.
The device prevents premature babies from getting too hot or too cold. Genesis Trust matched money from Rotary Sunrise, while the final amount to purchase the equipment came from the Triathlon Association with proceeds from the Genesis Trust Duathlon of $2,000.
“We are happy to see our efforts make this a reality for the [Health Services Authority] and future preemie patients,” Mr. Drake said.
Dr. Greg Hoeksema, medical director at the Health Services Authority said, “We have been challenged this year to provide all of our own capital funding, so ongoing support from private individuals and service clubs have proved vital in our ability to purchase new equipment. Through efforts like this, combined with the hard work of our staff, we are now taking care of more NICU babies than we ever previously could.”
The equipment measures a baby’s central and peripheral temperature and gives an early warning of thermal instability or possible cold stress by observing the measured values on the digital display. “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,” Dr. Hoeksema said.
Paediatrician Dr. Marilyn McIntyre said the state-of-the-art equipment has additional benefits its predecessors did not have. “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,” Dr. McIntyre said.
The device’s monitors record the heart rate and respiratory rate, and record the oxygen saturation in the baby’s blood and an attached phototherapy unit administers light therapy to jaundiced babies, she said.
“Likewise, combined within the warmer are oxygen and suction equipment, which means that infants born by Caesarian section who need these options can be transported back to the NICU for special care whilst remaining a totally enclosed safe environment,” she said.
The machine is already being used to care for premature newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Health Services Authority.