Wis. mom says neonatal webcam 'a godsend'
- Article by: SHEREEN SIEWERT
- Associated Press
- December 28, 2013 - 12:05 AM
WAUSAU, Wis. — Four-year-old McKenzie Flowerette of Stevens Point said she can't wait for the day Isabella, McKenzie's newborn sister, finally comes home.
Isabella, born Dec. 14, is a patient at the Anya Marie Jackson Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, where her mother, Bonny Flowerette, watches over her day and night. McKenzie and her father, Ryan Flowerette, can't be in Wausau every day, but they, too, watch over Isabella —thanks to a webcam system installed earlier this month at the hospital.
"The webcam is a godsend," said Bonny Flowerette, who gave birth to Isabella when she was just 33 weeks pregnant. "McKenzie can't wait to be a big sister. Seeing the baby has been so wonderful for her."
The webcam system, called NICVIEW, includes cameras in each room of the unit that can be positioned over each baby. Families are given secure, encrypted login information that they can pass along to friends and family members who can log in any time to monitor a baby's progress, Aspirus Wausau Hospital spokesman Greg Aune said. There is no charge for the service.
"It's hard to be at the hospital 24 hours a day," Aune told Daily Herald Media (http://wdhne.ws/1a6sXgk). "With this new system, parents, friends or family members can log in from a computer, a tablet or a smartphone and see the baby and what's happening inside the NICU. Anywhere they have Internet access, people can log in."
The new system has given Ryan Flowerette, who works at Neenah Paper Co., and McKenzie, who attends preschool, a chance to monitor the progress of their new family member even if they can't make the daily trip to see Isabella. Bonny Flowerette said the new system makes sense not only on a personal level, but from a medical standpoint, as well.
"As a mom sitting next to my premature baby, I am very much aware that people want to see her, but she needs to be protected from germs that could harm her or slow her progress," Flowerette said. "This is a wonderful solution. Everyone can see her, but there is no risk to our baby."
Flowerette said the system has been especially important to her family members, many of whom live in South Africa. Bonny Flowerette emigrated to the U.S. in February after she met her husband, a U.S. Marine, while they were both working at the U.S. Embassy in Victoria, a suburb of Johannesburg. Her mother and siblings all live overseas, but have been able to lay eyes on the new addition to the family through the NICVIEW system.
Isabella should be ready to go home in the next few days; until then, her mother said, she is comforted knowing her family is watching.
The NICVIEW system was installed at a cost of $51,990, said Andy Napgezek, a spokesman for the hospital. Funding was made possible through the 2013 Aspirus Women's Golf Classic that was held in August. Nearly 300 golfers, caddies and volunteers partnered with Aspirus and nearly 100 businesses and community members to help make the purchase possible, he said.
"The NICVIEW is really a gift to families and babies from our community," Napgezek said.
An AP Member Exchange Feature shared by Daily Herald Media
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