San Diego Hospital Using New Bed Designed to Help Premature Babies

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A new, specialized bed at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital gives premature babies who aren't breathing the life-saving care they need. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala has a look at the new technology.

    A premature baby was resuscitated in San Diego last week using a new, specialized bed designed just for preemies.

    Averi Snyder was born four weeks early and not breathing. Her umbilical cord was tied in a knot.

    Mom Kim Snyder said the doctor didn't immediately alert her to the dangers but dad Shane Snyder said he saw the whole thing.

    Seconds after she was delivered, Averi was placed into a special bed so that the team of doctors at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital could pump oxygen into her lungs while she was still attached to her mother's umbilical cord.

    Within the first minute, Averi began to “pink up."

    “[I was] mesmerized by what was going on and how everything took place and how fast they had her breathing,” Shane said. “It was pretty amazing.”

    Kim was able to see Averi and kiss her before the staff took the newborn to the NICU.

    The Snyders are one of the first families in the U.S. to use the new LifeStart resuscitation bed.

    It's designed to delay umbilical cord clamping for the sickest or most premature babies, allowing them to receive blood and other fluids from mom.

    It's a modern twist to an old concept that Snyder wishes was around when she delivered her first child.

    “It's amazing and it’s lucky,” she said. “Our first child could've really benefitted from it. I hope that other parents get to experience it."

    Sharp Mary Birch Hospital rolled out the equipment just last week becoming the first American hospital to put them in use.

    Neonatologist Anup Katheria, M.D. said the beds are part of a research study focusing on pre-term births, or those babies delivered before 40 weeks.

    The idea is that if doctors can start giving a distressed baby some oxygen at birth, they can take advantage of the first minute of life outside the womb and improve the infant’s outcome.

    “Once the baby begins breathing in that first minute, the blood can naturally flow into the lungs allowing more stabilization to occur,” he said.

    Umbilical cord blood is full of stem cells, oxygen carrying blood cells and white blood cells that help fight infections.

    The fluids also help improve the baby's heart functions and reduce the child’s need for oxygen and blood transfusions.

    The beds are placed beside the mother during delivery.

    Each bed has a heated pad that mimics skin-to-skin warmth and allows the infant to be warmed from above and below.

    So far, 10 babies have been treated using the four beds currently in use at the hospital.

    As for Averi, she was still in the hospital Monday and progressing every day.

    Her parents hope to take her home from the hospital on Wednesday.