SAMC now home to high tech premature beds

Southeast Alabama Medical center has unveiled the newest triplets to arrive at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Not babies, but Babyleo beds, a state of the art contraption that acts like a mother's womb.

"We are the first hospital in the state of Alabama to get these Babyleo beds, and second in the nation," said Mark Stewart of SAMC.

These special beds reduce the number of times a baby has to be moved or stimulated, which can compromise the baby's development.

"We're able to take care of the baby in what's called a neutral thermal environment," said Sheri Smith, director of nursing for Neonatal Unit.

"Which means the baby is not using the calories it needs to heal to do other things, like keep itself warm, regulate the temperature, those kinds of things, the bed does that for them."

But that's just the beginning. One nurse said it takes the human error element out of a lot of actions.

"It tracks noise and light levels, so it lets us know if our noise or lights are getting too high for a baby. You can input mp3 devices in it to play sounds, and music, and voices for babies. There is a scale included so it weighs babies, it allows us to provide humidified moist environments for them.

"Generally speaking, we can take anything from 26 weeks up, and that's the kind of babies that we used to send to Birmingham," said Smith. "Now we're able to keep them right here with the mother. Which is huge for a family and bonding."

Over $125,000 was donated from Brave Beginnings, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, and Southeast Alabama Medical Center Foundation's Philanthropic Women's society to make the purchase.

"This facility here, and this new bed here will certainly help improve the quality of life for this community and that's what we're all about," said Brad Kimbro, COO of Wiregrass Electric Cooperative. "We try to do anything we can to help our community grow and prosper."

They are looking for funding for at least two more, and at $40,000 a piece, they won't come cheap. 

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