Making Small Miracles

Caring for Einstein’s smallest patients for nineteen years, Maryann Malloy, RN, Nurse Manager of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, has seen first-hand how advancements in technology have improved the care she and her colleagues are able to provide. The bond she has developed with her patients and their families inspires her work and compels her to seek innovation.

“I love my job and the patients we serve,” she says. “I’m very dedicated to Einstein and to providing the best care possible.”

During her tenure, Malloy has led the charge for acquiring the most up-to-date technologies for NICU babies and their families. Among these is the Giraffe Isolette Carestation, a care station featuring humidified air and heat to closely mimic the womb. The beds also have a convertible-like lid, allowing staff quicker and easier access to infants.

The Giraffe Isolettes were funded with proceeds from the 2017 Small Miracles Golf Tournament.

Oftentimes, the Giraffes are utilized for babies born 2 pounds and under. In 2017, the Carestations hosted 27 premature babies at the Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia campus. Currently, the hospital owns 6 of these life-saving machines, but ideally the NICU would like to have access to 10, says Malloy.

Babies stay in the Giraffe 4-8 weeks and the units have about a 24-hour cleaning turnaround. This requires each baby to have access to two beds during their hospital stay. According to Malloy, “Being in the Giraffe is an alert that a child is medically fragile. You don’t necessarily want your baby in the Giraffe, but when you have a premature child, you’re very grateful for that bed.”

“When some of these children are born, they are so little they require a technology-controlled environment to support their growth and eventually allow them to go home,” says Malloy. The beds enhance the developmental process of premature babies, reducing negative developmental impacts later in life.

Malloy goes on, “It can be a scary place with all the alarms and strange noises. We encourage the parents to open the port holes and touch their child’s foot or hand. If the infant is stable enough, we assist in kangaroo care, or having the parent hold their baby skin to skin, on their chest.”

Once the baby graduates from the Giraffe, they move on to the common isolette used for all newborns cared for at Einstein. Then families can begin to utilize other technologies in the NICU, like breastfeeding stations and hospital grade rocking chairs, allowing for parents to more actively participate in their baby’s care.

When children no longer need the assistance of the Giraffe, it’s an amazing relief and milestone in the family’s life. According to Malloy, “Every day is a miracle in the NICU.”