When you’re just getting started, every second counts. Along with NeoForce Group, a medical device startup, a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists and nurses at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital is responsible for creating the Rainbow Flex — the world’s first high-tech surgical bed specifically designed to operate on critically ill newborns. Dr. Edward M. Barksdale Jr., surgeon-in-chief at Rainbow, walks us through three innovative features designed to save the tiniest of patients in neonatal intensive care.
Hot Potato: A 1-pound infant lacks the right amount of body fat to maintain a temperature of 98.6 degrees. They can lose up to 1 degree within 10 minutes. An ambient warmer attached to the bed’s gel pad monitors the baby’s temperature and adjusts its heat accordingly while doctors are operating. “Cold is a major stressor for babies,” says Barksdale. “Once they drop their temperature, it’s not always so easy to get it back up again.”
Tiny Tech: Rather than transport an infant down the hall, into an elevator and across several floors to receive X-rays, doctors can use a joystick to move the bed up or down and extend it entirely off the table on a mobile arm. The C-shaped fluoroscopy machine then transmits X-rays through the bottom of the bed, which holds a radiolucent X-ray plate inside. “There’s no obstruction,” says Barksdale. “It allows us to precisely work simultaneously with X-rays without moving the baby.”
Work the Room: From administering central lines and anesthesia, to respiratory repair and open-heart surgery, the bed is a mobile unit that can be dispatched to operating rooms. “This bed is almost like a first violin in the orchestra,” says Barksdale. “This bed allows us to bring the expertise of the operating room to the baby and to the family.”