Born early at 27 weeks and weighing little more than a kilo, Tina Martinovic’s son Kristijan already had a fight on his hands against severe jaundice.
Despite spending more than 80 days in hospital, Ms Martinovic, who is also the Newborn Intensive Care Foundation coordinator, said a device for treating jaundice, a Bilicocoon, helped her son recover.
“The Bilicocoon is a beautiful device to help prevent and reduce the complications related to severe jaundice which, if untreated, can cause brain damage,” Ms Martinovic said.
“This transport phototherapy device will be used in the ACT Newborn and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS) ambulance and will allow neonatal jaundice treatment immediately on arrival and as the baby is being transferred to the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit].”
To help more babies like Kristijan at the NICU at Canberra Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, the Newborn Intensive Care Foundation needs your help to raise much-needed funds for a ‘Bilicocoon’ by participating in the Bake for Babies campaign.
Currently being held until 31 August, Bake for Babies has been running for the past five years.
Bake for Babies is a simple concept.
“You can bake whatever you want, sell your baked goods to friends, family or work colleagues, and then deposit the proceeds into the Bake for Babies bank account,” she said.
Department of Neonatology clinical director Dr Hazel Carlisle said Canberra Health Services is extremely grateful to the Newborn Intensive Care Foundation for funding the Bilicocoon system to allow safe and effective phototherapy when ambulances pick up newborn babies.
“The Bilicocoon provides phototherapy to treat babies who have severe jaundice. It wraps around the baby’s body and can be safely attached to the neonatal retrieval system so it can be used during transport between hospitals,” Dr Carlisle said.
“This enables unwell babies to receive phototherapy whilst being transferred from a special care hospital to a neonatal intensive care unit.
“Phototherapy uses light set at a specific wavelength to treat severe jaundice in babies. The light accelerates the rate at which bilirubin is removed from the skin.”
Dr Carlisle said the ability to use the phototherapy safely during transport enables this important treatment to be provided to the baby without delay.
Although the Canberra Women’s and Children’s Hospital doesn’t have a Bilicocoon yet, Ms Martinovic said they had been trialling one from the supplier.
“As hi-tech medical equipment goes, these are not that expensive and their value to the health of the baby and the wellbeing of the mum far out ways the cost – as such, we could do with a couple,” she said.
“The Bilicocoon will be securely fitted to the ACT Newborn and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS) ambulance.
“It is important as it allows immediate treatment upon arrival [birth], thus also prevention of further complications including brain damage if not treated immediately and treatment en route to Canberra NICU/SCN from regional hospitals. It can also be used en route from within Canberra suburbs to Canberra NICU/SCN or between both Canberra hospitals, if necessary, as we only have one NICU.”
Ms Martinovic said Bilicocoons are also great for mum and bub bonding as the mother can nurse and cuddle her baby while it is undergoing treatment in the Special Care Nursery.
If baking’s not your thing (but eating is), virtual Bake for Babies will be held on 23 and 24 July, so you can treat yourself to goods created and donated by some of Canberra’s best bakers.
All participants in the Bake for Babies campaign will go in the running to win a $500 travel voucher and 100 per cent of all deposits made to the campaign will go towards the Billicocoon phototherapy device.
Deposits over $2 are also tax deductible.
To find out more information, visit Bake for Babies.