Help improves for sick babies
Helicopter crews transferring unwell infants to Wellington Hospital’s neonatal unit have another tool to monitor the condition of their tiny patients.
Wellington Hospitals and Health Foundation have presented the neonatal patient retrieval team with a portable i-stat monitor for doing blood gas tests en route.
The hand- held monitor will be used for all critical patients who need ventilation or blood tests in the air ambulance.
The hospital’s flight retrieval team makes at least one flight a day carrying seriously ill patients to Wellington Hospital.
The monitor analyses blood gases from a prick test within nine seconds. The blood is collected on a small cartridge which is inserted into the base of the machine. Different cartridges measure for different aspects of the blood, including carbon dioxide, glucose and electrolytes.
The results are stored in the monitor’s memory and they can be sent to a printer by Bluetooth.
Neonatal unit biomedical technician Tengseng Ong said the portability is the new machine’s advantage.
‘‘Now we can do blood gas tests off site, in transit, on the ground or in the air. Once the results are received, almost instantaneously, the team can tailor the ventilation strategy and ensure the best treatment for the infant. They can optimise the ventilation by setting how fast the oxygen is delivered, the exhale/ inhale times and the number of breaths per minute.’’
Flight instrument: Wellington Hospital patient transfer charge nurse manager Henny Nicholls, left, laboratory quality co-ordinator Clare Murphy, neonatal intensive care nurse technician Tengseng Ong and neonatal intensive care nurse manager Rosemary Escott with a new portable blood gas monitoring device.