Rotary provides key device to spot jaundice in newborns

A device which helps spot jaundice in babies has been handed over to the Borders General Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit, thanks to the fundaraising efforts of local Rotarians.

Monday, 7th December 2020, 9:56 am
Dr Ian Ross and Irene Strafford, Rotary presidents from Kelso and Selkirk respectively, are pictured with ward sister Shirley Syme and senior charge midwife Claire Grieve as they take receipt of the new billimeter at the Borders General Hospital.

There are approximately 950 births each year in the Borders.

One critical element of maternity care is to monitor for jaundice, which can either be done using a billimeter, or through more prolonged blood testing, requiring the taking of blood samples by syringe.

Until now, there has only been one billimeter available to maternity staff at the BGH, which restricts their ability to quickly and accurately test a newborn in the more outlying areas.

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In an effort to help in the early diagnosis and treatment of jaundice, Rotary Selkirk set about to raise the £6,000 funds required for the purchase of a billimeter, to compliment the only other unit.

Through generous supporting donations from the Rotary Club of Naga City in the Philippines and the Rotary Club of Kelso, an additional billimeter has now been purchased and officially handed over to staff at the hospital.

Shirley Syme, ward sister, said: “The billimeter is used for measuring bilirubin levels in babies with suspected or obvious visible jaundice.

“Measuring the bilirubin level as soon as possible in babies with suspected jaundice will ensure that those with rapidly-rising bilirubin levels are identified promptly for treatment. 

“Having this portable device in areas of the Borders furthest from the BGH will make this diagnosis easier for our community teams and also prevent a round trip to the hospital of over 70 miles for families.

“We are so grateful to Rotary for this donation, which will have a huge impact for our community teams.”