YOUR HEALTH: A high-tech way to make it easier for preemies to thrive

Freya, this smiling preemie, is nearly 2-years-old (Tribune Media)

 

ORLANDO, Florida – Babies born too early are often hospitalized for weeks or months in specialized neonatal intensive care units or NICUs.

Now, a cutting-edge system is helping the tiniest patients thrive in an environment much like the one they just left.

LIttle Remi Jolliff came into the world at 24 weeks and five days. three and a half months before she was due.

“She was coming out whether we were ready or not,” said her mother Jessica.

Remi weighed just one pound, six ounces.

“Just complete devastation,” her father Christopher remembered.

NICU nurse manager Michael O’Brien has cared for hundreds of preemies over 25 years.

Advent Health in Orlando is now the first in the country to test an innovative system that in some ways simulates a mother’s womb.

It’s a high-tech isolette, called Babyleo.

“There’s a little device that lays on the baby’s skin,” explained O’Brien.  “It’s like a thermometer. A little sticker goes over it keeping it on the baby’s skin and it goes into the isolette.”

That way a computer system constantly monitors the baby’s temperature, keeping him at 98.6 degrees by automatically turning on and off warmers in the crib.

The Babyleo also gently mists sterile water to adjust the humidity.

“Remember the premature baby was floating in amniotic fluid inside the mom and the skin is not ready to be out in the dry, dry air,” said O’Brien.

NEW TECHNOLOGY:   AdventHealth in Orlando is the first in the United States to implement the Babyleo TN500 IncuWarmer beds from Draeger.   The Babyleo has a variety of offerings: thermoregulation during open, closed and transitional care; weaning mode to help automate weaning of patients outside of the incubator; lowered sound and light levels resembling the womb; height adjustments and knee pockets as well as “kangaroo mode” to support parent-baby bonding.

The Jolliffs take comfort knowing Remi is getting specialized care.  It takes away some of the trauma from her early delivery.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

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