Thank you to our Donors!

May 11 2017 11:00am
Because of your generosity, doctors at BC Women’s Newborn ICU have the highly specialized equipment needed to save babies’ lives.

Saving babies’ lives at BC Women’s Hospital Newborn ICU takes more than world-class doctors and nurses. It takes technology so unique, so precise and so specialized as to be found nowhere else in medicine. That’s why replacing aging equipment is a critical priority.

“Our newborns have such unique needs compared to adult patients,” says Dr. Kevin Ansah, pediatrician and clinical associate with the NICU. “For instance, a baby born at 25 weeks and weighing 600 grams needs to be in an incubator to attempt to mimic the temperature and humidity of the womb.”

Many babies in the NICU have complex respiratory challenges. Thankfully, generous donors have helped the NICU acquire a wide array of advanced breathing technologies; equipment that helped save baby Francis’s life.

“We started Francis out on a conventional ventilator, but when his premature lungs showed they were unable to cope, we had to move to a more powerful tool, which was the oscillating ventilator,” says Ansah. “Once he recovered, we were then able to support him with a CPAP machine.”

Ansah adds that, recently, donor-funded jet ventilators have completely transformed care for babies with complex respiratory support needs: “It was like night and day when our team got this technology.”

Advanced technology has also made it possible for emergency surgeries to be performed right in the NICU: “One of our patients, Finnegan, was too unstable to move, so we literally brought all the OR equipment to him. Surgery to repair a perforation in his bowel was performed right there on the spot.”

However, Ansah says that it’s the everyday technologies that tend to have the greatest overall impact.

“A simple ECG machine quickly detects a problem with the rhythm of a baby’s heart, leading to faster intervention and care,” says Ansah.

“A simple CO2 monitor provides vital information on how much CO2 is in a baby’s bloodstream simply by attaching a lead to the surface of a baby’s belly.”

The renewal of equipment is a constant challenge for the NICU, which is why the support of donors like you is so vital.

“Staying on the leading edge of technological innovation in neonatal medicine is crucial in the NICU,” says Ansah. “Donor support helps ensure we’re able to continue to deliver the highest level of care for critically ill newborns and their families.”

Written by Ann Collette
Photography by Christopher Morris