Webcam system at Pittsburgh hospitals offers views from NICU
Phones rang constantly 25 years ago at Magee-Womens Hospital, where Thomas Kendell's premature twin daughters learned to wiggle and grin at nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit.
“We could call a million times a day,” Kendell said on Tuesday. “But it's not the same as seeing your child's face and knowing he's OK.”
His grandson, Colin Kendell, was a Christmas miracle. Born at 32 weeks instead of the normal 40, the 8-pound, 8-week-old redhead has almost doubled in size but still can't breathe on his own. Family members who can't make it to Children's Hospital's neonatal ICU can see him with the help of a webcam above his crib.
Children's and Magee are two of three hospitals in the state to offer NICVIEW, a password-protected web-cam system purchased with a grant from the Snee-Reinhardt Foundation of Whitehall. The hospitals have logged more than 5,000 views from 33 states and the United Kingdom since UPMC turned on the cameras six weeks ago.
Hospital equipment dangled over Krysten Kendell, Colin's mom, as the 31-year-old McCandless resident adjusted the folds of her son's pastel blankets. Her hands flicked in and out of the webcam's line of sight, still visible on the cellphone lying nearby.
“This is very cool for us,” she said. “When I'm here, I'm with him, and when I'm not, we know he's doing all right.”
UPMC mounted 30 cameras above the incubators in each hospital to give families live access to video streams accessible from a computer or mobile device. Cameras are turned off during shift changes and routine care.
Officials at West Penn Hospital are considering a similar system for their new NICU, scheduled to break ground in the next couple of years, spokeswoman Jennifer Davis said.
“The cameras give parents a sense of reassurance,” said Beverly Brozanski, NICU clinical director at Children's. “If a mom or dad wakes up in the middle of the night and feels nervous, they're just a few clicks from seeing their baby.”
With log-in information from parents, family members anywhere in the world can check in on UPMC's tiniest patients.
Brozanski said viewing their babies can help breast-feeding mothers increase milk production. Feedback has been very positive, she said.
As Kendell prepares to go back to work, she said Colin's video feed will be with her around the clock. His prognosis is excellent, she said, but he could be in the hospital for a very long time.
“My husband already uses it — he works all day and can't be here during the day — but if we see that he's crying or needs something, we can call and ask (the hospital staff) to look in on him.”
Colin's grandfather, Thomas Kendell, 60, logs in a few times a day.
“With my girls, we didn't even have cellphones,” he said, tapping his phone. “Today, I woke up, and his face is right here.”
Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at 412-388-5815 email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police intercept drug courier returning to Western Pennsylvania with 316 bricks of heroin
- Pittsburgh City Council considering settlement of former police recruit’s lawsuit
- Deputies arrest couple, seize 45 bricks of heroin in Penn Hills
- Pew Research Center poll shows most Americans take gun rights over control
- Lincoln Place man accused of hitting Port Authority police officer with SUV bound to court
- Trade Institute of Pittsburgh helps rebuild lives of ex-convicts
- Healthy Ride, Pittsburgh’s bike share program, won’t require helmets
- 10,000 more plots for veterans planned at National Cemetery of Alleghenies
- Lawsuit: Pittsburgh Public Schools should have known officer was abusing boys
- Social media tip-offs missed in melee outside Monroeville Mall, security specialist says
- Tree giveaway kicks off Earth Week in Pittsburgh