By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The cry of a newborn is a welcome sound in hospital delivery rooms across the world.
But when the birth of a child is met with silence, nurses and doctors must quickly jump to action.
Learning how to respond in emergency situations involving childbirth procedures has taken a huge leap forward at Saint Joseph London, with the addition of the neonatal birthing simulator. The lifelike mannequins, named Noelle and Newborn Hal, are the latest investment in technology that will move the London facility into the newest realm of medical advancement techniques.
Noelle features a fully articulating body that can simulate childbirth and delivery that includes the head-first normal delivery, assisted delivery in which forceps and vacuum devices are required, shoulder dystocia and breech deliveries. Monitoring devices attached to Noelle’s body give students and staff feedback during these training deliveries, even monitoring when too much pressure is being exerted during normal deliveries.
Newborn Hal features lifelike qualities with breathing, crying, pulse, color and vital signs and can be hooked up to machines for oral and nasal intubation.
The $66,000 investment is the largest expenditure for the London facility to date and will allow staff and students to practice their skills in a risk-free, supportive environment where complex cases of patient care can be identified, re-created and practiced.
“Simulation is increasingly being used to educate and train health care professionals,” said Barry A. Stumbo, president of the Saint Joseph London Foundation. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Saint Joseph London staff will have an advanced tool for learning, training, and preparation.”
Saint Joseph London delivers approximately 1,100 babies each year and the addition of Noelle and Newborn Hal are a welcome technological addition.
“This will bring our competency to the next level,” said Mary Jo Westerfield, director of Women’s Services. “We can learn about the various types of C-sections, epidurals, and provide parent education — perhaps to a father who has never held a newborn baby before.”
Westerfield added that Noelle is a multi-function simulator that can be programmed to deal with other emergencies. She has interchangeable abdomens that range from pregnancy to normal and allows students to practice cardiac and respiratory distress techniques. She can also be programmed for medication recognition, i.e., be given the wrong medication and show symptoms for which staff and students can address.
“We can do IV and drug panels and even identify overdoses of (illicit) drugs,” Westerfield continued. “This is all about educating and recognizing emergency situations and knowing how to react before it is a real life-threatening situation.”
Cailen Wattenbarger, nurse educator, said, “We are greatly blessed as a facility. This ultimately puts Saint Joseph London at the top to improve patient safety and care and is a great asset to the community. We are the only hospital within 70 miles to have this simulator and it will help us to provide better care.”
Created by medical device company Gaumard, based in Miami, the simulator is the highest standard used in medical technology and in training. Noelle and Newborn Hal will be permanently placed in a training room where they will be used for training exercises.
Saint Joseph London is part of the Kentucky One Healthcare systems, which combined Jewish and Catholic facilities into one in 2012. The Saint Joseph London Foundation was formed to raise and administer funds to support the core mission of Saint Joseph, which is to provide a bridge between medicine and compassion. The Saint Joseph London Foundation is funded solely by donations and provides ways to help people in need.