TeleBaby: New technology provides a life-saving link to neonatal experts

May 2017 Posted in Community, Your Health

By Kristine Thomas

Lori Neufeld and Erica Young both said things might have turned out dramatically different after their delivery of their children if it weren’t for a machine that was recently installed at the Family Birth Center at Legacy Silverton Medical Center.

Lori and Erica are grateful for TeleBaby along with the medical staff at the Family Birth Center at Legacy Silverton Medical Center. Calling TeleBaby a lifesaver, they believe it made a huge difference helping things go right when things were going frightfully wrong.

A Skype-like high definition telemedicine robot, TeleBaby allows the staff at the Family Birth Center in Silverton to immediately communicate with expert neonatal nurses and physicians for infant resuscitation and collaboration.

Installed last fall, the state-of-the art robot has a video camera that allows medical teams at Portland’s Randall Children’s Hospital to see exactly what is happening in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Silverton.

The two-way video conferencing allows a real-time exchange of information on the newborn’s condition and care and greatly improves response times, ultimately contributing to successful outcomes.

Lori and Erica credit TeleBaby’s 24/7 access to neonatal experts with helping save the lives of their children.

Lori’s storyLori Neufeld and Tim Temple with their daughter Emily.

At the Legacy Woodburn Medical Center, Lori, who works as a physician outreach liaison, had recently returned to work after giving birth to Emily on Oct. 16. Sitting next to her financé, Lori held Emily, who joyfully wiggled in her mom’s lap.

Her due date was Oct. 9, Lori said, but she went into labor on Oct. 17, almost two weeks late. While in labor, her doctor told her the baby was in distress and she needed to have an immediate Cesarean section.

Through the whirl of activity in the delivery room, Lori recalls Emily being quickly taken out of the room. She asked if her baby was OK.

“I remembered being told ‘no’ and there was a lot of commotion in the room,” Lori said.

Tim Temple, Emily’s father, remembers the doctors trying to resuscitate the infant, who did not have a pulse.

Seeing his daughter seemingly lifeless, and Lori upset, Tim recalls he did a great deal of praying in those moments.

Going between the delivery room and the intensive care unit, Tim said he just remembers a flurry of activity.

“It took eight minutes to resuscitate Emily,” he said, adding the doctors later determined she had ingested meconium.

Silverton Legacy Health Public and Community Relations Public Information Officer Melinda Veliz said one advantage of Silverton Health partnering with Legacy was the ability to bring the newest and best technology from an urban hospital to a rural one.

Both Lori and Tim said they believe having access to TeleBaby saved their daughter’s life. The unit had only recently arrived at the hospital.

“If we didn’t have that wonderful support…,” Lori said her voice fading off.

“I feel things could have turned out different. I am so glad we had access to it. If all the things weren’t in place, there was a possibility I could have gone home without a baby. Instead, I have a healthy baby.”

Tim said a team from Randall Children’s Hospital arrived to transport Emily up to Portland. He accompanied her. Lori was transported the next day.

Before making the journey, Emily was brought to Lori.

“She was in an incubator and I was reassured all her vital signs looked positive,” Lori said. “When I got to see her, she squeezed my finger.”

Both Lori and Tim said they can’t express how thankful they are TeleBaby was available at Legacy Silverton Health.

Derek and Erica Young with their twin boys Samuel and John standing in front of the TeleBaby .Erica’s story

With Erica cuddling John and Derek hugging Samuel, the Youngs met at Legacy Silverton Medical Center, where Derek works as a business consultant, to share their birthing experience.

Pregnant with twin boys, Erica and Derek went to the 35-week check up on Nov. 11. Laughing, Derek said it was just supposed to be a normal appointment. After the ultrasound, their doctor asked them to go to the Family Birthing Center to wait for her. They sensed something could be wrong when they saw her running toward them, out-of-breath.

“My doctor was trying to act calm when she told us she had to deliver the babies now, by C-section,” Erica recalled.

“We didn’t have time for anything,” Derek said. “We didn’t even have our baby bags.”

Describing herself as a “planner,” Erica said it was frightening to be whisked into the delivery room at 7:30 p.m. By 8:32 p.m. Samuel was born. Two minutes later, John was delivered. He had fluid in his lungs and signs of heart failure.

Derek remembers the intense activity after his sons were born and being told an ambulance would be taking the boys to Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland.

TeleBaby allowed the medical staff in Portland to see everything happening in the ICU and to have real time medical records.

“The TeleBaby provides seamless communication between the medical staffs at two locations,” Derek said.

“It’s a wonderful thing for our hospital to have because it allows both teams to communicate with one another.”

Derek’s father went to Portland with the twins. Derek stayed with Erica, who joined them the next day.

Born five weeks early, Erica said the doctors think John stopped getting nutrition around week 28. Smaller than his brother, Erica describes John as fiery while Samuel is big and gentle.

Although things didn’t go as planned – with an unexpected early delivery – the Youngs are grateful for their healthy boys.   

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