My name is Pip and I am the lead post-natal midwife at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. I run a dedicated team of midwives who look after mothers and their new babies, and we have over 3,500 births a year at the hospital.
One of the main conditions we look for is jaundice which, if left untreated, can cause brain damage. Jaundice is a build-up of bilirubin, a waste product created by excess red blood cells breaking down in the body. Sometimes babies can present symptoms of serious jaundice within 24 hours of being born, which can be an indication of medical disorder, a serious condition such as cystic fibrosis, or a blood-type incompatibility. It is vital we assess a baby as quickly as possible, as early treatment can make all the difference.
We currently test for jaundice via a blood test, which measures the level of bilirubin to see if it is within normal range. Whilst the blood sampling is accurate, it is very invasive and uncomfortable for newborn babies. With the support of Rockinghorse, we want to purchase a Drager transcutaneous bilirubin machine, a handheld device which
both doctors and nurses use to measure bilirubin levels by shining a light on the baby’s forehead. It is reliable, non-invasive and gives an instant result.
As physiological jaundice is so common it is imperative we make the right diagnosis. The new machine would also prevent unnecessary blood tests and anxious time spent waiting to go home.
When jaundice does require medication, we administer
phototherapy (light therapy) on the ward - the
sooner we can start treatment, the sooner the baby can hopefully go home. We really want to make the post-natal experience better for the mothers and babies we look after. The bilirubin monitor would not only make our care more efficient and safer, but also very reassuring for all the wonderful new families we welcome onto the ward every day. So please donate to Rockinghorse this Christmas and help make our
maternity unit the very best it can be. Thank you. Pip