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Lifeline for newborns in crisis

  • Representatives from Heartland Regional Medical Center, Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital and the Marion Chamber of Commerce help Melissa Adkins,,CEO of Heartland Regional, as she cut the ceremonial ribbon on the telemedicine program.

    Representatives from Heartland Regional Medical Center, Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital and the Marion Chamber of Commerce help Melissa Adkins,,CEO of Heartland Regional, as she cut the ceremonial ribbon on the telemedicine program.
    Chanda Green photo

  • Chanda Green photoBrittany Allen tells the crowd about her son, Quincy, and how the TeleNICU program helped him through a potential health crisis right after his birth in September.

    Chanda Green photoBrittany Allen tells the crowd about her son, Quincy, and how the TeleNICU program helped him through a potential health crisis right after his birth in September.

 
 
Posted on 2/9/2018, 1:00 AM

MARION - Heartland Regional Medical Center has announced that its Family Birthing Center has partnered with SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis in a program that provides a high-tech lifeline for newborns in crisis. The TeleNICU program allows access to immediate, real-time, remote consultations and evaluations from St. Louis neonatologists via the latest technology.

One of the first recipients of this service, Quincy Allen, 5 months old, was the guest of honor at Tuesday's ceremony, which included a ribbon-cutting and a demonstration of the InTouch Health video and audio platform that allows the real-time, long-distance collaboration.

That collaboration was crucial to Quincy and his parents, Brittany and Joel, right after his birth in September when doctors at Heartland Regional found a hole in the newborn's heart. The TeleNICU platform was used to allow a pediatric cardiologist in St. Louis to watch and guide doctors in Marion through an echocardiogram on the infant and to consult on the baby's prognosis and treatment.

Quincy was the hospital's first infant to benefit from the telemedicine program, and in his case, doctors agreed that the hole in his heart would close on its own. That's exactly what happened.

"My experience was wonderful," Brittany Allen said. "Quincy is my fourth child, and with three in diapers at home, it was nice to be able to stay here and not have to go to St. Louis to get that care."

Dignitaries from both hospitals praised the program and its implementation at Heartland Regional.

"We're excited and proud to be a collaborator with this hospital and a healer for the community," said Stephen Burghart, president and CEO of Cardinal Glennon.

"It's a dream come true for many of us here," said Melisa Adkins, CEO of Heartland Regional, describing her tour of Cardinal Glennon and "the amazing care provided at that facility."

Dr. Ayoob Ali of Cardinal Glennon demonstrated the use of the telemedicine platform by connecting with one of his St. Louis colleagues, Dr. Justin Josephsen. Using a practice newborn doll, Dr. Ali explained how Dr. Josephsen can zoom in on the patient or the monitors even during surgical procedures.

"Suppose this baby was very sick and needed intubation," said Dr. Ali. "He (Dr. Josephsen) can guide me through that procedure.

"This (technology) also allows advanced care to begin sooner and helps rule out any condition that would require transport. I have done many of these (telemedicine consultations), and I can tell you that it is a blessing for the hospitals and physicians involved and for the patient and family."

Hans Driessnack, chief operating officer at HRMC, said, "It's always preferable to keep your baby close to your family and your support systems and to avoid the disruption of a medical transfer, both to you and your vulnerable infant. This program helps meet the goal of keeping an infant close to home while ensuring the best possible care."

And just as the demonstration was ending and Herby Voss, director of marketing at Heartland Regional, was inviting everyone to enjoy the refreshments that were being set up at the back of the courtyard cafe, a familiar lullaby started to play over the hospital's loudspeakers.

"Do you hear that?" Voss asked the crowd. "That means that we just had another baby!"

 
 
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