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Elective Competition Winner 2017

By Laura Dunn

Elective Competition Winner 2017


With the long weekend behind us it's back to the hospital. I spend my Tuesday with the paediatric surgeons and see a variety of common operations, mostly hernias, plus a baby born with gastroschisis (gut outside the body) getting a larger silo placed to allow the bowel better blood flow.

Wednesday saw me start at the level three NICU, this site cares for babies born from 23 weeks gestation. There are so many babies here, many of which have extremely complex problems, that there are three teams needed to see everyone.

The third team sees the babies who are more stable, are generally older and are potentially nearing discharge or transfer. The two main teams, red and green, split the remaining babies and see 10-15 each.

The teams take turns going to resus codes and receiving babies. When I start my team has two ex-23 weekers and three ex-24's, along with several babies born around 26-28 weeks.

All the babies in the unit have their own whiteboard with their name, their parent's names, and important information about them, ventilator settings, positions they like to sleep in and their current feeding plans.

As the new member of the team these help me get to know each baby which makes the ward round go much more smoothly for me. Towards the end of the week I attend my first resus of a baby born at 26 weeks, it's a much more tense resuscitation than the ones I'd been to a couple of weeks ago of 32+ babies.

There are many additions to the process, mainly centred around keeping the baby warm as she was so tiny, they also began resuscitating her before the umbilical cord was cut which I'm told is a fairly new initiative that's just coming in to this hospital.

Delayed cord clamping is routine in Calgary but often in difficult resus scenarios not possible, but by doing it here they're hoping to see improved outcomes for the baby. It's something I'd not seen before so I'm interested to see what the protocol is back in the UK and what people's thoughts are, the constant search for improved long term outcomes and research is one of the reasons I find neonatology so fascinating.

This week has been a steep learning curve so I'm ready for the weekend by the time Friday rolls around. As it's my penultimate weekend we headed up to Banff and Lake Louise to see some of Alberta's most beautiful scenery, it was pretty smoky due to forest fires ongoing in British Columbia but Lake Louise was still stunning. I've definitely seen some incredible things this week, in and out of the hospital.

Watch out for more updates from Laura on her elective adventures! 

Are you going on an elective?  Head off on your travels safe in the knowledge that we've got you covered for problems such as cancellations for exam re-sit cancellations, HIV needle-stick injuries or unforeseen medical expenses with elective insurance from Wesleyan.  

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