Nurses take a leap of faith for baby incubator

(l-r) Carol Moore, Jill Humby, Wendy Marriott, Liz Lovibond.   Staff from Queen Alexandra Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are getting ready to take part in a charity skydive to raise money for a new baby incubator.   Picture: Allan Hutchings (113253-294)
(l-r) Carol Moore, Jill Humby, Wendy Marriott, Liz Lovibond. Staff from Queen Alexandra Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are getting ready to take part in a charity skydive to raise money for a new baby incubator. Picture: Allan Hutchings (113253-294)
From left, Terence Rierkert, Matt Chapman, Steve Kramer, Dan Deeks, Theresa Newstead, Simon Freeman and Josh Roux
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170948-1)

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THEY help look after newborns in Portsmouth, and a team of nurses decided to go to new heights to support some of the most vulnerable babies.

Staff from Queen Alexandra Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) took a leap of faith in order to raise money for new equipment.

A team of 16 – made up of nurses, staff, friends and family – all took part in a tandem skydive.

Money raised will go towards buying a new specialist cooling incubator.

Carol Moore, 49, NICU matron who took part in the jump, said: ‘We were all quite scared of heights, so the skydive was a real challenge but it is worth it.

‘This treatment is so important to the babies and their families.

‘We are one of only two hospitals in the South Central NHS region that can deliver this treatment, so we want to be able to get more specialist equipment to treat those babies who need it.’

The skydive was organised by Carol, along with ward administrators Jill Humby and Clare Stuart.

The team is trying to raise £4,000 to buy the incubator.

It is used to reduce a baby’s body temperature to prevent brain injuries.

Babies that need to have their body temperature reduced are born towards the end of pregnancy in difficult circumstances.

A cooling wrap is placed around the body and reduces the baby’s body temperature to 33.5C (92.3F), and the baby is placed in the incubator.

The wrap is constantly monitored and can be adjusted to ensure the baby’s body temperature is kept constantly at this temperature for 72 hours.

Jill, 47, said: ‘The incubator is used for babies that have had a traumatic delivery or are born with a head injury.

‘Cooling the baby’s body down gives it time to repair itself.

‘It’s also open at the top, which means you can get access to the baby more easily.’

The ward has two incubators, but medics want a third to help during busy periods.

‘You can’t ever predict how busy the ward is going to be,’ added Jill.

‘Having another incubator means we can help more babies.’

So far the team has raised more than £2,000.

The nurses plan to do another skydive next summer.

To donate money visit justgiving.com/neonataltandem skydive2011.