Big help at hand for premature, tiny babies

tiny-babyA premature baby’s arm can be as thing and small as two adult fingers, hence inserting a needle into the little limb to draw blood is not an easy job for a hospital nurses.

Small pieces of equipment, called transilluminators, facilitate the job by lighting up the fragile babies’ tissues so their blood vessels stand out and the needle can be inserted more easily.

In Malta the an association called “Tiny Infants Parents Support”, or “Tips”, donated more than €30,000 worth of equipment to Mater Dei Hospital’s paediatric unit, including two transilluminators.

Tips also donated an ultrasound machine, worth some €29,000, that will replace the old one that was about 15 years old. This machine is used for various purposes, which include scanning premature babies’ brains for blood leakages.

Six pulse oximeters, used to measure oxygen in the babies’ blood, were also donated to the Neonatal Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Tips is a support group within the Cana Movement founded by Janice Buttigieg, Louise Farrugia and Didi Busietta to offer support to parents of premature babies.

The three women, who are now the mothers of three healthy teenage girls, were inspired by their own personal experiences with their premature baby daughters.

Rather than taking their treasured newborns home, the parents of premature babies get to leave the hospital empty-handed as their babies are kept in hospital incubators for weeks or months.

Since the group was set up, 12 years ago, the volunteers have made an annual donation to the unit.

“Their contribution to the unit is invaluable. Apart from the equipment, they offer priceless support to parents,” unit chairman Simon Attard Montalto said.

He added that each year the unit took in about 400 infants of whom some 300 were premature babies and newborns in need of medical assistance.

This year, Tips also donated €2,000 to Victor Grech to assist him in uploading his online journal on paediatric cardiology onto PubMed, a global American digital archive for biomedical and life sciences journals.

Further information about Tips can be obtained from the Cana Movement on 2123 8068