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UVMHN Pediatricians Comment to News & Citizen on Lifesaving Telemedicine Equipment for Rural Newborns

September 14, 2023 by Lucy Gardner Carson

(SEPTEMBER 14, 2023) Pediatricians in the UVM Health Network spoke with the News & Citizen about telemedicine equipment that allows doctors at rural critical access hospitals to consult in real time with specialists at the UVM Medical Center about newborns with life-threatening conditions.

(SEPTEMBER 14, 2023) Pediatricians in the UVM Health Network spoke with the (Lamoille County, Vermont) News & Citizen about new high-end telemedicine equipment that allows both audio and visual communication between two rural critical access hospitals and the UVM Medical Center in Burlington during the transport process for newborns with life-threatening conditions.

Cameras with high video resolution have been installed at Copley Hospital in Morrisville and North Country Hospital in Newport, allowing specialists in Burlington to see what’s happening with the baby, providing real-time advice to care teams on the ground preparing infants for transport.

“I feel like I’m present in the room,” said neonatologist Charles Mercier, M.D., M.P.H., professor of pediatrics at Larner College of Medicine and director of neonatal-perinatal medicine at UVM Children’s Hospital. “I can zoom in and see features of the baby that puts me right at the bedside. It’s a remarkable technology. In this way, we all collaborate to provide the best support and care we can with the resources we have.”

“While everyone plans for a healthy newborn, not everyone plans on the possibility of complications requiring special care,” said Steven Soriano, D.O., clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Larner and chief of pediatrics at Copley Hospital in Morrisville. “We are fortunate to have received this life-saving equipment. Having access to this level of technology ensures a more positive outcome for the newborn.”

“We do not take care of babies who are born very, very early, very often. So if a baby is born suddenly under emergency conditions here at Central Vermont Medical Center and only weighs a couple of pounds, I want help as quickly as I can get it,” said Anna Hankins, M.D., clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Larner and medical director of pediatrics at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, who has had opportunities to use the equipment. “These are tiny, very vulnerable infants. I always breathe that big sigh of relief when the transport team arrives from the children’s hospital.”

Alexandra Bannach, M.D., FAAP, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Larner and pediatrics medical director at North Country Hospital in Newport, agreed. “This opportunity will increase the quality of our neonatal care even further and greatly benefit our youngest patients.”

Read full story at News & Citizen (Lamoille County, Vt.)

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