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Unresponsive Newborn Thrives Due to On-Site Neonatal Care


By OSF HealthCare 

Christmas 2017 will be one the Ferguson family of Clinton, Illinois, will always remember.

Amanda, 32, was expecting her second child, due on New Year’s Eve. A sonogram performed a couple days before Christmas, however, showed the baby was measuring big, so Amanda’s doctor induced her a week early.

She went to OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington for induction on Tuesday, December 26. After laboring for 20 hours, Amanda underwent an emergency caesarean section.

“She came out not breathing,” Amanda said of her newborn, Laura.

The next thing Amanda recalls is many nurses and doctors running through the doors. Among them was a neonatology provider. Three months earlier, OSF St. Joseph began staffing its Birthing Center with full-time neonatology providers from OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria.

“They checked her umbilical cord for her oxygen and gas levels and everything was normal prior to her coming out,” Amanda said.

A higher level of care
Janessa Jenkins was the neonatal nurse practitioner in the OSF St. Joseph Birthing Center the night Laura was born.

“At birth, Laura came out not breathing and limp, requiring the assistance of myself and the nurses immediately after delivery,” Janessa said. “Within six minutes of birth, she was taking breaths on her own and her heart was beating without assistance.”

The concern, Janessa said, was how long Laura may have gone without oxygen. In these cases, there is a treatment called therapeutic hypothermia or “cooling therapy.” It requires lowering the baby’s body temperature to around 92 degrees Fahrenheit for 72 hours.

It’s not the period of low oxygen or low blood flow to the brain and organs that can potentially cause damage, it’s the body’s reaction that causes inflammation.

“Getting the baby’s temperature down within six hours of the possible injury helps prevent inflammatory response, and decreases the chance of brain or organ damage,” Janessa said. “There are strict criteria for qualifying for therapeutic hypothermia, but Laura was a perfect candidate.”

With Laura just 15 minutes old, the warming equipment that usually keeps infants from getting cold after birth was turned off, and her body temperature began to fall slowly.

Continued care at OSF Children’s Hospital
While waiting to be transported to OSF Children’s Hospital, Janessa and the care team were able to get all the lab results the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit team at OSF Children’s Hospital would need, allowing her care to progress while the transport team was en route.

“When the transport team arrived, they placed Laura on a special cooling blanket for the transport, to keep her body temperature in the desired range, protecting her brain and organs,” Janessa said.

Amanda’s husband and in-laws went to OSF Children’s Hospital. Amanda was able to have a televideo visit with Laura and connect with the providers at OSF Children’s Hospital.

“That provided me some reassurance, being able to see her,” she said.

Amanda arrived at OSF Children’s Hospital around 9pm Wednesday, December 27. Fifteen minutes after arriving, Laura was taken off the ventilator and breathing on her own without issues.

“Up to that point, I hadn’t got to hold her,” Amanda said. “By Saturday, Laura’s body temperature was being brought back up as she was monitored for any sign of seizures.”

A few days later, Laura went home. She continues to be watched by developmental specialists to make sure she is meeting her milestones on time.

Since being home, Amanda said Laura is doing great, all thanks to the “amazing team,” and in particular, Janessa who made the decision to start the cooling treatment immediately.

“I’m so glad that Laura continues to do well,” Janessa said. “It was my pleasure to take part in her care.”

OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria is a 136-bed children’s hospital with more than 140 subspecialists. In addition to providing around-the-clock neonatology support at OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, OSF Children’s Hospital also provides cardiology, surgery, urology, gastroenterology, and maternal-fetal medicine outpatient clinics on the OSF St. Joseph campus. Visit to learn more.