New tool to reduce infant deaths

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Indiana’s infant mortality rate is still at an all-time high.

So a health collaborative developed a program to train healthcare professionals from rural areas. Medical professionals gathered at Union Hospital simulation center Friday.

There’s nothing sweeter than a newborn baby’s cry.

But this particular infant is just a tool in the Rural Health Innovation Collaborative (RHIC) simulation center. It’s to train medical professionals from rural areas for worst case scenario.

“To get them training on how to care for neo-natal emergencies. This is a high risk, low volume type of thing for them, especially ones that don’t have OB departments,” said Jack Jager, director of the RHIC simulation center.

This training is part of an effort to reduce Indiana’s infant mortality rate.

“The interim time from until the baby gets to a higher level intensive care unit is a very, very critical time,” said Jager.

Beth Hall works at Sullivan County Community Hospital. They have about a 120 to 130 births a year.

Thankfully, they don’t have a lot of complicated births, but that also doesn’t give them much opportunity to keep their skills sharp in the event of an emergency.

“What happens at the sim lab, they run us through scenarios of more complicated births to keep up up-to-date on our skills,” said Hall.

And for rural areas, like the one Hall serves, it could mean the difference between life and death for a minutes old baby.

“If we as practitioners do our best to keep our skills the tip top level that we can, then the safer our customers will in the hospitals that we serve,” said Hall.

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