Among other things, bilirubin helps the body get rid of waste products created when aging red blood cells die. It makes bruises turn yellow and is the reason for the yellow colour of patients who have jaundice.
The $8,823 tool enables medical staff to measure the jaundice levels of newborns through their skin, instead of having to poke their heels, as has been the case until now.
“This will save a lot of discomfort for the babies as well as trips to the hospital to get the test done,” says Ruth Wiens, a registered nurse and clinical lead at the Peaks to Prairies Primary Care Network (PCN).
The two local service clubs combined to cover the cost for the machine.
Wiens says the machine is still being tried out and tested before being used permanently.
“In order to ensure that the readings are accurate, we have to do a certain number of control ones,” Wiens says. “So we do the reading here and then the baby has to go to the hospital and then get the poke done.
“We’ve got just a few more of those control ones to do and then we won’t be poking. They won’t have to get the poke any more.”
On Feb. 26, members of the Rotary Club of Olds and the Olds Elks Lodge #100 got together with staff at the Peaks to Prairies PCN to see a demonstration of the machine in action.
“They were thrilled; they really were,” Wiens says. “They were quite excited to see it.”
“This will save a lot of discomfort for the babies as well as trips to the hospital to get the test done.”
PEAKS TO PRAIRIES PRIMARY CARE NETWORK