Bid to link premature babies with RCH experts

A THICK wall of plastic separates Michaela Lamb from the outside world she entered six weeks early.

Weighing little more than three pounds (1.36kg), Michaela is just one of hundreds of infants who will pass through the neonatal unit this year. 

There are eight pods at South West Healthcare’s special care nursery for infants born prematurely or with health issues — often breathing problems.

South West Healthcare is hoping to fund-raise $15,000 for a new telemedicine system that will link sick or premature babies to experts at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. 

South West Healthcare’s paediatric registrar Dr Kathleen McGrath (left), midwife Jess Holder and nurse unit manager Peter Logan with newborn Michaela Jean Lamb, of Hamilton. The hospital is raising money for a new teleconference facility for the neonatal unit. 
140429RG13 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

South West Healthcare’s paediatric registrar Dr Kathleen McGrath (left), midwife Jess Holder and nurse unit manager Peter Logan with newborn Michaela Jean Lamb, of Hamilton. The hospital is raising money for a new teleconference facility for the neonatal unit.  140429RG13 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

“We’ve got great staff here but the highest skilled staff aren’t always on when they’re needed,” nurse unit manager Peter Logan told The Standard. 

“It’s a lot easier talking visually rather than doing it over the phone and they can see clearly what the baby looks like and what the monitor is saying. 

“It’s just making sure you have the best available help at the times you really need it.”

The nursery typically sees children born eight weeks premature or less — anything beyond that requires specialist care in Melbourne. 

Telemedicine has already been used at the emergency department with standout results in life-threatening cases including a man who was critically injured after a high-speed car crash on the Princes Highway and a toddler who was scolded with hot coffee after taking his first steps. 

Mr Logan said the system would also help offer Warrnambool’s specialists a second opinion in complicated cases. 

South West Healthcare will hold a book launch by well known cook book author Julie Stafford on May 30 to help raise money for the new system. 

Tickets are available at the cashier desk of Warrnambool Base Hospital. 

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