NICU to purchase new equipment thanks to Sandra Schmirler Foundation grant

(L to R )Dr. John Leverette, Theresa Breen, Dr. Faiza Khurshid, Erika Kooi, Nicole Pierce, and Dr. Robert Connelly.
at a cheque ceremony on Friday, Jul. 7, 2023. Photo via UHKF.

The smallest patients at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) will see the most benefit from a grant from the Sandra Schmirler Foundation. The $30,000 grant will go toward the purchase of a Glidescope for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which combines two technologies into one device and will save “time and additional tubes entering a vulnerable infant,” according to the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation (UHKF).

The first grant the Sandra Schmirler Foundation gave to KHSC’s NICU was in 2013, which went toward the purchase of a video laryngoscope system. Ten years later, on Friday, Jul. 7, 2023, the foundation provided this new grant for the Glidescope, which is a dual device providing both video laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy. According to a release from UHKF, bronchoscopy procedures allow physicians to insert a thin tube into the infant’s mouth, nose, or throat to allow sight into the lungs.

For premature or ill newborns, the latest technology can help reduce swelling, pain, trauma and the number of surgical interventions for the patient, UHKF noted. This is the third grant that the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation (UHKF) has received from the Sandra Schmirler Foundation. The second was in 2021 to purchase Bilisoft Blankets. 

“It’s near and dear to our heart to be able to support you here in Kingston again,” said Theresa Breen, Advisor for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation. “I’ve been fortunate to be able to personally deliver all three of these cheques.”

The Sandra Schmirler Foundation raises funds to save the lives of babies born too soon, too small or too sick. Since 2001, the Foundation has raised almost $7 million for more than 90 hospitals, in every province and territory, to purchase life-saving equipment for thousands of premature and critically ill babies and their families. Sandra Schmirler was a decorated curler and Olympic champion, and her foundation was created after her passing in 2000.

“I’m a curler and we’re truly grateful to be receiving another grant from the Sandra Schmirler Foundation,” expressed Dr. John Leverette, Chair of the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation Board of Directors. “This foundation is a legacy to love, celebration, and family, and it supports premature and critically ill newborns.”

For the physicians, nurses and health care professionals working in the NICU, this equipment will assist in providing the best care possible for premature and critically ill babies, according to the release. UHKF noted that it will also provide a good training tool for the next generation of medical professionals.

“What it really helps us do is utilize the voice box, where we can pass the breathing tube in the nicest and quickest way,” explained Dr. Faiza Khurshid, Interim Head of the Department of Pediatrics at KHSC. “So it’s really hard to wrap your head around it, but imagine a baby who is 500 grams and we are trying to put a tiny tube in the vocal box. With the help of this new equipment, we are directly visualizing and decreasing the suffering and the pain, and making a good outcome.”

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