Medical equipment worth nearly $10,000 will give newborns a less jaundiced outlook on life.
The Humpty Dumpty Foundation and Suttons Motors have donated a $9,680 Bilisoft LED Phototherapy System to the Armidale Rural Referral Hospital’s maternity department, to treat jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
"We appreciate the donation immensely,” maternity / paediatric unit manager Cherie Hunter said.
“It will replace outdated equipment, so we can continue to provide the best possible service, and upgrade the care. More effective lighting also means less time in phototherapy.”
The Humpty Dumpty Foundation has raised money to purchase vital children’s medical equipment for more than 380 children’s hospitals across Australia for nearly 30 years.
Suttons, a long-standing supporter of the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, gave the equipment as part of a $75,000 donation to celebrate 75 years of business.
“Suttons Motors’ support of the Humpty Dumpty Foundation and the local community in which they operate is immeasurable,” Humpty Dumpty Foundation founder and executive chairman Paul Francis OAM said.
“Their support of families in Armidale means children have access to the latest life-saving medical equipment. I applaud this contribution to Armidale Rural Referral Hospital as it demonstrates Suttons Motors’ commitment to the wider community.”
"I come from Bundarra, and I have ten guys working for me down there,” Suttons division Clerkness Pastoral Company farm manager Chris Strahle said. “They have little children and grandchildren, so it will benefit them."
So what is jaundice?
Jaundice is a common complaint in babies, and the hospital sees one baby a week with it. It affects half of full-term babies and 80% of pre-term babies in their first week of life.
“Jaundice is a normal process that happens in babies when they’re breaking red cells that they don’t need anymore after they’ve been in the womb,” Dr Elizabeth Coterall said.
“Some babies break down more, and so their levels are higher. They’re sleepy; they don’t feed quite so well; so they get dehydrated; and they’re not establishing feeds. They’re low on blood sugars, and they can lose weight. It has a roll-on effect.”
If undetected, it can cause cerebral palsy, deafness, and/or brain damage.
“If we can get onto it early,” Dr Coterall said, “and treat it with the light therapy, we can prevent more complications later on."
Why the new equipment is more effective
Lights help to break down the bilirubin (yellow pigment) so babies can easily excrete it, and the levels in the blood drop. The quality of the lights determines how long babies are on the lights.
The new equipment has a higher concentration of lights than the system it replaces: 35, rather than 30. Its fibreoptic and LED system means there are no bulbs to change.
The old equipment, on the other hand, had lights inside that had to be changed if they blew. Babies would also have to lie on a hard cot, and be zipped up into a blanket.
“A baby would be crying on the cot, and all you could do is pat them,” Dr Coterall said.
The new equipment can be put under the singlet, and lets the baby be swaddled.
"They can be in with Mum; they can be breast-fed, they can be cuddled," Ms Hunter said. "That's really beneficial for bonding with Mum."
"It makes a big difference to a mother's being able to care for her babies while they're receiving treatment,” Dr Coterall said. "The the first few days of life is often a critical time when they're bonding and establishing feeding. The more they get to hold their baby makes it so much easier for them."
The new equipment has been in use for nearly a month.
"We were using this Bilisoft up until yesterday on one of our little babies, who was being cared for in a Resuscitaire unit,” Dr Coterall said. “It didn't intrude on any of the other cares that we needed to provide. We're still able to do our drips, our monitoring, our respiratory support while giving our phototherapy.”
About the Humpty Dumpty Foundation
The Humpty Dumpty Foundation was established over 28 years ago by Founder and Executive Chairman, Paul Francis OAM. It has raised well over $60 million to help sick and injured children in over 380 hospitals and health service centres across Australia,
The Humpty Dumpty Foundation has enjoyed long-time support from its Patron, television journalist Ray Martin AM, Olympian Jane Flemming OAM – Ambassador/Board Member and Wallaby great Phil Kearns AM - Ambassador and Founder of the Humpty Dumpty Balmoral Burn.
Through annual fundraising initiatives including the Good Egg lunch, Balmoral Burn, City2Surf and the Great Humpty Ball, and with the support of generous individual and corporate donors, the Humpty Dumpty Foundation delivered around 500 pieces of medical equipment to hospitals across Australia last year.
One of the Humpty Dumpty Foundation's fundraising methods is ‘Humpty’s Wish List’ in 2001. the Hospitals can request essential medical equipment to meet an immediate need.
The Humpty Dumpty Foundation’s medical sub-committee, made up of senior medical administrators and clinical specialists, stringently assesses the request before it is added to ‘Humpty’s Wish List’.
To date, 383 hospitals across the nation have benefited from the life-saving medical equipment, specifically to care for children and babies, provided by the Humpty Dumpty Foundation and its amazing “Good Egg” supporters.
Locals, community and business organisations interested in supporting the Humpty Dumpty Foundation and their local hospital, either by donating a piece of medical equipment or by making a donation, can visit www.humpty.com.au or contact the Humpty Dumpty Foundation on 02 9419 2410.
Suttons was first established in the early 1940s by the late Sir Frederick Sutton, the father of Laurie Sutton, who now owns and operates the Group with his two sons, Craig and Ryan.
These days the main focus of the Group is in New South Wales, and in particular the Sydney basin, where it operates 24 franchised motor vehicle dealership sites, covering 27 different franchises.
“Suttons is driven by a pioneering spirit of service, and our culture has been shaped by our constant concern for people and our commitment to excellence,” a spokesperson said.