Written by David Shivers
Infants born prematurely or with a serious medical condition are in an extremely vulnerable situation and require special care and equipment. When such a situation arises, hospitals in the Children’s Miracle Network are a godsend for worried parents.
Albany’s Phoebe Putney Hospital is just such a facility. It is the only CMN hospital in Southwest Georgia and one of only six in the entire state designated as a perinatal center.Amanda Biery of Children’s Miracle Network Phoebe spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County on November 19 to spread the word about how the organization works and its locally-focused mission. Its two primary goals are to help as many children as possible by raising funds, and to keep funds in the community where they were raised. Moneys raised for CMN Phoebe, for instance, stay within the hospital system’s 25-county regional service area.
Among the technological features at Phoebe supported by CMN are giraffe beds for premature infants. These are specially-designed units that provide environmental stability – including regulation of humidity, sound, and light-sensitivity – to promote healthy development. Giraffe beds enable the transportation of infants for procedures or surgery as needed without removing them from the protective enclosure.
Another asset are vein illuminators, special lighting that enables technicians to identify viable veins in tiny limbs, according to Biery, so that a needle stick can be done accurately on the first try, thus preventing unnecessary pain.
While CMN Phoebe has a 97 percent success rate, said Biery, for the remaining three percent the outcome is sad. Children’s Miracle Network offers bereavement and aftercare services to help families get through the traumatic ordeal.
In its three decades of existence, Children’s Miracle Network has raised more than $4.3 billion dollars for perinatal hospital facilities. CMN started in 1983 with a local television fundraiser in Boise, Idaho, organized by singer Marie Osmond and family, actor John Schneider, former March of Dimes officer Mick Shannon, and TV broadcast executive Joe Lake. It grew rapidly into one of North America’s leading charities and now covers every major television market in the country.
According to the information presented by Biery, “Whether they suffer from common childhood afflictions like asthma and broken bones, or fight bigger challenges like severe prematurity and birth defects, we provide comfort, treatment and hope to thousands of sick children each year.”