A local family physician from the Selkirk Regional Health Centre (SRHC), has recently made an anonymous donation of $8,500 for the purchase of a BiliBlanket for the hospital’s family birthing unit. A BiliBlanket is a portable phototherapy device for the treatment of neonatal jaundice.
“I realized with our increasing birth rate at SRHC, that babies born jaundice are likely to come up more often and decided to help out our community by donating another BiliBlanket. I strongly believe in giving back to my community,” says the physician who donated the funds, but wants to remain anonymous.
Jaundice is a yellow tint to a newborn’s skin and the white part of the eyes which means there is too much bilirubin in the baby’s blood. Phototherapy allows the skin to absorb the light which changes the bilirubin so that the body can more easily excrete it through urine and stool. Jaundice is estimated to affect 50 to 60 per cent of babies born at full-term and up to 80 per cent of babies born prematurely.
The physician says the donation came on the heels of a very busy few weeks inside the family birthing unit.
“We had several babies requiring phototherapy. Unfortunately, one of our two BiliBlankets has been out for repair, so we were down to one and we were also having to rely on the overhead UV lights. I’ve noticed that the babies in the BiliBlankets seem to settle better as you can still swaddle, hold and feed them while they receive treatment.”
Executive director of the Interlake Eastern Health Foundation Pamela McCallum was delighted to receive this physician’s second donation to the foundation.
“We are so fortunate to have physicians in our region who care so much about their patients and who want to optimize the facilities they work in. I know staff and families are so grateful for this donation and I look forward to hearing about the success the family birthing unit has with this new BiliBlanket to treat jaundice.”
The family birthing unit team says the donation brings new light to the department.
“This blanket allows for uninterrupted treatment of babies diagnosed with hyperbilirubinemia and allows us to support the current practice of promoting mother and infant bonding, as mothers are able to breastfeed and hold their newborns while they continuously receive treatment.”
Interlake Eastern Foundation’s mission is to raise funds that support health care in the Interlake-Eastern health region. For more information visit www.iehf.ca or contact Pamela McCallum, executive director at (204) 785-7044.
Photo L-R: Jamie Brown – CRN, Jennifer Palsson – RN, Elyse Gillon – RN, and Sara Unrau – Clinical Team Manager (Surgery, Med/Surg, FBU).