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New Infant Warmer Serves First Patients

Submitted by: Dr. Mark Nelham, Chief of Staff

Baby Warmer When you are working in a small rural Emergency Department you always have possible emergency scenarios that you worry about and hope you never see. Unlike big city trauma centers where many of the physicians often work on adrenalin highs, rural physicians and nurses are acutely aware of their isolation and the fact there is not much help for us when we have a really difficult case. We are all motivated to provide the best care for our patients, and at times we discuss what types of cases are most uncomfortable for us to manage and how we can improve resources to facilitate the best patient care possible in those situations. At the end of 2020 we were thinking about this and reflecting back on some difficult cases, and the situation identified as the most stressful was delivering and/or caring for new-born babies in our Emergency Department.

June 2021 saw us with the opportunity to address this in more detail. Handling these babies and keeping them warm was really a challenge, so we started looking into equipment that would facilitate providing appropriate care for newborns. Within six weeks we were looking at a “baby warmer” unit that would meet many of our needs, including some we hadn’t even really thought of or identified. We approached the foundation with our plan and received enthusiastic support. They included funding to cover training on use of the unit and further training for nursing and physicians in the management of neonatal and pediatric emergencies.

The “baby warmer” unit was delivered in December 2021. It is amazing. The baby comes up to a height that allows easy assessment and examination, and intervention if needed. Helping babies breathe is different than helping adults. This unit has a portable setup that delivers air mixed with oxygen as needed. Using 100% oxygen with babies is bad for them, unlike adults, and this unit allows control of that mixture and the pressure. Everything is tiny, and there is a little T-piece that allows you to give the baby a little breath by just putting your finger on an opening. The unit also has a built-in weighing system and, yes, it has focused heating to keep the baby warm. It is “cool” and has other bells and whistles that really makes taking care of these tiny beings much easier, and less stressful.

Our unit received its first new-born and mother patients on February, 8th. Beautiful baby Sophie Ray just couldn’t wait to come into this world, so we were grateful to have the proper equipment to assist in her birth. Getting this “baby warmer” was a quantum leap forward in our ability to meet the needs that come through our emergency doors. Kudos to the Foundation and community for making this possible.

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