During the riskiest transfers of the most precious patients, the best equipment is vital. Thanks to donations to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit through the BSUH Charity, such specialised kit is accessible.
Support of TMBU made it possible for the Neonatal Transport Team to purchase an Oxylitre Petite Elite portable low suction pump, critically important equipment used to assist in the safe delivery of newborn babies to other hospitals. These babies need transferring from one hospital to another so that they have access to the specialist facilities required for their specific conditions. The transfer team consists of a doctor/nurse practitioner, a nurse experienced in neonatal transport and a dedicated ambulance driver that as a team, safely transfer babies within Sussex, Surrey, Kent and other areas.
The Oxylitre Petite Elite is particularly useful when transferring babies that need continuous, low level suction. For instance, when babies are born with a rare birth defect known as oesophageal atresia and trachea-oesophageal fistula. These conditions result in two problems: 1. the oesophagus does not connect to the stomach and 2. The oesophagus and windpipe are erroneously connected. This causes air to pass from the windpipe to the oesophagus and stomach and stomach acid to pass into the lungs. These defects mean the baby cannot swallow safely until after they have undergone corrective surgery.
Until the babies receive this operation, they must have continuous low-level suction so that they do not have fluid and secretions spilling over into their lungs. It is imperative that this is maintained during the transfer to specialist hospitals where they will receive this corrective surgery.
When asked about how the new equipment will improve the transport service, Louise Watts, Neonatal Transport Team Leader, shared, “The transport team had a suction machine before for this purpose amongst others but it had a safety cut out timer so that it automatically turned off after a specified time (rather than provide continuous suction) and the pressure delivery was more difficult to control . The new machine will enable us to deliver continuous uninterrupted suction to these babies with the increased safety of being able to more accurately control the pressure we are delivering.”
The team are looking forward to using the Oxylitre Petite Elite to safely pick up and deliver babies during their almost 500 transfers a year.