TB Vets invests in the next generation of neonatologists

October 1, 2018 12:00am
As a revered Clinical Neonatologist and Educator, Dr. Deepak Manhas has played a crucial role in the opening of BC Women’s new Neonatal ICU (NICU), exactly one year ago this past October.

Dr. Deepak Manhas is excited to get his team trained on their new video laryngoscope…

As a revered Clinical Neonatologist and Educator, he’s played a crucial role in the opening of BC Women’s new Neonatal ICU (NICU), exactly one year ago this past October.

This opening marked the conclusion of our Hope Starts Here Campaign, to completely outfit the new facility with state-of-the-art equipment and technology. The increased capacity of the NICU gives every family a comfortable space to be together 24/7. For the 40% of patient families referred from other NICU’s across the province, this is a major game changer.

Now, the sickest, most premature patients across western Canada are referred for care that can only be found at here. Pair this with the new 70 private rooms, 10 of which actually allow new mothers to receive post-partum care alongside their newborn. This new model of care has put BC Women’s on the map.It is a first in North America (and only second in the world), and marks a tangible paradigm shift in the way we think of NICU care.

Now, it’s beyond Canada. BC Women’s is setting the standard of NICU care globally.

All of a sudden, the need to not only meet rapidly changing medical advancements, but stay at the forefront, is heightened. All this considered, Dr. Manhas looked at the fully-outfitted NICU and knew there was still one significant piece of equipment missing…

Video laryngoscopes have fiber optic camera lenses built into their light-source, allowing neonatologists to “see around the corner” when inserting breathing tubes. When a baby is unable to breath on its own, every second is a matter of life and death.

Breathing tube insertion is known to be one of the most difficult neonatal procedures to teach, due to the extreme fragility of these newborns. But with advancement in technology and medical knowledge, the need for breathing tubes is decreasing. This means experienced Neonatologists are losing muscle memory, and new trainees overall have less exposure to the need for this highly dexterous skill.

“We’re using breathing tubes less frequently. But when one is required, we need to be ready. We need to get it right the first time.”

So, while Neonatologists continue to practise with simulation dolls, this video laryngoscope will have an increasingly vital role in emergency situations.

“Developmental brain injuries are the biggest thing I’m noticing in NICU babies that are transferred to our Hospital. The longer it takes to insert a breathing tube, the longer the baby goes without oxygen to the brain.”

That is why Dr. Manhas sees TB Vets investment as an investment in the next generation of neonatologists.

"It’s getting trainees right when they’re starting their career. If they’re trained on the video laryngoscope right here, they’ll be more comfortable going out into other communities, meaning more babies will get better care.”

It is a known reality that video laryngoscopy is standard when intubating adults and children in most hospitals… but since there are comparatively fewer NICU patients in the healthcare system overall, there has been less focus on developing and funding this highly advanced tool.

As one of the first in Canada, Dr. Manhas predicts a ripple effect – where other NICU’s will prioritize funding this piece of equipment.

“Now that we have it, other NICU’s across Canada will follow suit. People turn to us for what is useful. I’m just so grateful to TB Vets for helping us continue to lead the way…”

It is together with leaders like TB Vets that BC Women’s is able continue supporting the best outcomes for the most fragile patients in western Canada.

Helping premature newborns breathe easier is something worth the investment.

Please join our family of supporters by making a donation to help the babies cared for in BC Women's Newborn ICU.