Nicola Linell (left) and Jennifer Hoffman demonstrate how a bilirubin meter works. The new meter was donated by the Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary. (Photo courtesy of Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary)

Littlest Victoria General Hospital patients benefitting from new donation

Hospital Auxiliary donates bilirubin metre to neonatal intensive care unit

Some of the littlest patients at Victoria General Hospital will benefit from a donation thanks to the VGH Auxiliary.

The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Victoria General Hospital received four new bilirubin meters to help monitor jaundice in infants.

In conjunction with the hospital’s foundation and Poinsettia’s for Patients fundraiser, the Auxiliary raised over $4,200 which went towards the purchase of one bilirubin meter.

The meters cost nearly $10,000 each. The other three meters were purchased through sales at the Victoria General Hospital gift shop.

READ MORE: Hospital Auxiliary’s work makes a difference

“So many babies are born in the NICU so this way they have top of the line care for the babies,” said Candace Verners, communications director of the VGH Auxiliary. “It just really helps them out.”

Every year, the Auxiliary puts on the Poinsettias for Patients fundraiser and donates proceeds from it to a department in the hospital that has indicated it needs the funds. Verners said last year, the NICU received bilirubin blankets from the Auxiliary to help babies with jaundice.

READ MORE: Donation benefits littlest patients at Victoria General Hospital

Jaundice occurs when the liver cannot break down red blood cells fast enough. It produces a substance called bilirubin which leads to skin yellowing. Monitoring bilirubin levels in infants is important because continuous neonatal jaundice can cause permanent brain damage. The bilirubin meter helps doctors determine whether more aggressive treatment is needed.

The bilirubin blankets can be wrapped around infants and emit ultraviolet rays to help with jaundice.

This year, the auxiliary sold over 8,000 poinsettias through its Poinsettias for Patients fundraiser. Verners said the fundraiser will be coming back again in the fall and another department will be chosen as the donation recipient.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


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