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Pikeville Medical Center was recently the recipient of a grant from Kosair Charities which will allow the hospital to purchase a Temperature Management “Cooling Blanket Therapy” System for the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) recently received a $59,000 grant from Kosair Charities to purchase a Temperature Management "Cooling Blanket Therapy" System for the PMC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This temperature management system has the ability to cool a newborn’s body and brain temperature, potentially saving a baby’s life in certain situations.

“This is exciting news for our entire region,” explained PMC NICU Medical Director and Neonatologist Todd Hambleton, MD. “A cooling system, by itself, is non-invasive — it requires no medication, no needles, and no incisions. Unfortunately, some babies, even those born at full term, experience a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain shortly after birth. Having this gives us another tool to help us treat babies who fall into this category.”

This system uses a technique called hypothermia treatment, in which the newborn is wrapped in a waterproof blanket that circulates cool water around a baby, lowering the body’s temperature to 92.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts say decreasing the temperature cools the baby’s brain and body, reducing the risk of brain injury by as much as 50 percent.

“Thanks to this second consecutive grant from Kosair Charities, we can take another step forward in our mission to enhance our level of pediatric care at PMC,” explained PMC Vice President of the Board of Directors and CEO Donovan Blackburn. “Every step we take allows us to potentially keep more families together and close to home when their child needs specialized care. Not only will the babies receive the care they need, but their families will experience fewer emotional and financial burdens associated with traveling to receive care.”

 “Kosair Charities is committed to enhancing the health and well-being of all children. We are grateful to fund a brand-new cooling blanket system for the Pikeville Medical Center NICU,” said Keith Inman, Kosair Charities president. “We hope this will provide comfort for not only the smallest of our Kosair Kids, but their families as well.”

In 2020, PMC’s NICU doubled in size, increasing the number of beds from eight to 16. In addition to being able to treat more babies, the increase of beds has advanced PMC’s level of care from a level II to a level II Advanced Care NICU. This has allowed PMC physicians and staff to care for babies born earlier in the mother’s pregnancy. Previously, babies born sooner than 32 weeks had to be transferred to a higher-level facility.

However, the PMC NICU can now keep and take care of babies born as early as 28 weeks.

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