Webcams let parents see premature babies in ICUs
Parents of premature babies are being given the chance to see their newborns on a 24-hour-a-day basis, thanks to webcams installed above their child’s incubator in intensive care units (ICUs).
St Jude Medical Center in California has installed the NICVIEW webcam technology in its neonatal intensive care unit and doctors at the centre believe it will enable parents to bond with their babies.
Laptops, tablet computers and smartphones with an internet connection can be used to access the video stream at any time of the day.
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The service is password protected and each time parents want to see their child, they have to enter the log in details.
They can then choose to share the information with other family members as they wish.
St Jude Medical Center has reportedly spent around $1,000 for each camera and its accompanying service and technical fees, and one has been placed above all 14 of their incubators.
However, the Medical Director of the neonatal intensive care unit at the Center believes it is money well spent.
Speaking to news channel CNN, he said: “The family feels that they are really connected to their infant, which is important for bonding.
“In the past, the bonding process had to be instituted every few days,” he added.
Blake Rutherford, a founder of the NICVIEW system added: “The NICU is a special example of a time when parents need that bonding experience,"
The webcam service is live for 24-hours-a-day and is only turned off during medical treatment, daily rounds or at the discretion of doctors of nurses.
Carole and Stephen Kang’s son, Spencer, was born prematurely at the St Jude Medical Center and weighed just 2 pounds 2 ounces.
The couple told CNN that they had benefitted hugely from the webcams and were even watching their son at 2am one day.
Mrs Kang said: “There were times in the middle of the night that I would have to see him. It would give me such a sense of relief.”
There are only a couple of other services like this currently in operation, at the UMass Memorial Medical Center in Massachusetts and at the Deaconess Women's Hospital in Indiana
Meanwhile, the Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center in California is also hoping to introduce the revolutionary NICVIEW system to its neonatal department within the next few weeks.
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