On Wednesday, Jan. 31, members of the Blount Memorial Auxiliary gathered at Blount Memorial Hospital for their quarterly meeting and luncheon. While it may have been chilly outside, the group of volunteers exchanged warm smiles, enjoyed warm soup and heard about a new piece of equipment their efforts helped purchase – a new infant resuscitation warmer for Blount Memorial’s Family Birthing Center.
“Thank you,” Blount Memorial OB clinical educator Lora Irwin told the group. “Our staff thanks you, and our newborns thank you.”
The Panda Infant Resuscitation Warmer includes a radiant warmer that concentrates heat on the baby; an integrated scale; oxygen saturation monitoring; suction, if needed; and a blended oxygen delivery system. All of which help provide better emergency care for newborns who need it.
“This allows us to do an evidence-based resuscitation for the newborn,” Irwin later explained. “We didn’t have all the equipment we needed to provide the oxygen and air supplementation. We had to bring in extra equipment. This puts everything all in one place without having to bring in four pieces of equipment – we can do it with one.”
It's not Blount Memorial’s first Panda Warmer – the hospital has two from previous capital budget purchases – but it is the first one to be housed in an actual delivery room. The Blount Memorial Auxiliary donated a little more than $17,000 to fund the purchase, paid for with funds raised through sales events, including an online linen sale, a uniform sale and the semi-annual $5 jewelry sale.
“We saw the need, and it wasn’t something that was in the hospital budget this past year,” said Blount Memorial Volunteer Services director Barbara Jenkins. “Babies who are born prematurely or have special needs often have to be transported to another hospital because we don’t have a NICU, so we wanted state-of-the-art technology to be able to take care of those babies on site until that transport could happen,” she explained. “And (the volunteers) love to hear about things they fund for the hospital. It means a lot to them because they’re very passionate,” she added.
Since its creation in 1948, the Blount Memorial Auxiliary has helped enhance, expand and extend the hospital's reach into our community. Auxiliary members donate their time to Blount Memorial Hospital, performing tasks such as providing extra services to patients, promoting community relations, and providing funds through vending machine sales, fundraising events and sales at the hospital’s gift shop. Every cent earned through sales and fundraising events is donated back to the hospital or its entities. In its more than 75-year existence, the organization has far surpassed more than 1 million volunteer hours, in addition to their monetary contributions, which in that time have topped more than $3.5 million, enabling the hospital to maintain, improve and advance medical care in Blount and surrounding counties in East Tennessee.
For more information about the Blount Memorial Auxiliary or other volunteer opportunities, click here, stop by the Blount Memorial Volunteer Services department located on the hospital’s service level, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. or call 865-977-5609.