New video equipment helps Neonatal team train better

Each year the PMH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Newborn Emergency Transport Service teach hundreds of nurses, GPs, medical students and trainees in Paediatrics and Neonatology, resuscitation skills and in particular endotracheal intubation.

This is one of the most important skills Neonatal doctors and nurses need in order to resuscitate sick newborns. Endotracheal intubation involves placing a flexible tube through the babies’ nose or mouth and then through the vocal chords into the upper wind pipe, using a laryngoscope.

Donations from all of our amazing Workplace Giving program participants have funded a Video Laryngoscope for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

This equipment will be used to help doctors during difficult intubations and will also assist with vital training by allowing a supervisor to provide quick and accurate instructions to trainees through watching the video facility. Having this immediate and accurate feedback from a supervisor during training will ensure a higher success rate for trainee intubations and fewer complications for the patient.

Many prematurely born babies require mechanical ventilation in the days after birth due to complications such as pneumonia, heart failure, airway and lung abnormalities and brain related abnormalities. The benefits of immediate, correct placement of endotracheal tubes to assist breathing cannot be overstated in terms of saving babies’ lives and reducing the risk of short and long term complications. Brain damage resulting from lack of oxygen because a baby cannot breathe properly is one major long term impact.

Endotracheal intubation is usually taught with practical demonstrations on life-like dolls, followed by practice intubations on the same dolls. However when it comes to an actual, time critical, intubation of a sick newborn, the supervisor can only stand by whilst the trainee attempts intubation. It is very difficult for a trainee to adequately describe in real time what technical problems they are experiencing with a difficult intubation. The supervisor also cannot directly see why the trainee is having difficulties, frequently leading to a failed intubation and a lost opportunity to intervene and correct. Prolonged intubation attempts can also lead to the further destabilisation of an already sick baby. Having access to a video facility will enable greater patient safety, resulting in better outcomes for sick babies who require this procedure.

As PMH is one of the main teaching resources for doctors and nurses right across Western Australia, the confident acquisition of this vital skill will benefit every hospital in WA and potentially any baby born in our state.

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