HealthWatch: Robot Birth


Published 06/08 2014 11:22PM

Updated 06/10 2014 05:49PM

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Severe complications during childbirth are rare in the United States, but they do happen.

A new high-tech set-up, with a "robotic" baby, trains delivery room doctors and nurses to respond to the unexpected, especially when seconds count.

Mom's in labor. Baby is on his way. Then, something goes very wrong. The worst is happening. The baby's shoulders are stuck. Thankfully, Roger Coven, MD, OB/GYN, The Valley Hospital, rarely sees it this bad.

"But you still have to obviously be prepared for them," Dr. Coven told Ivanhoe.

Thanks to patient robot, Noelle, doctors and nurses can prepare for any imaginable labor complication.

"We can make her bleed. We can program her to have a seizure," Beth McGovern, MSN, RNC-OB, Clinical Practice Specialist, The Valley Hospital, told Ivanhoe.

Noelle keeps the staff on its toes, practicing teamwork and perfecting performance.

"What did we do really well, what didn't we do so well, and what are we gonna improve on," said McGovern.

Seconds later… a new medical crisis. The infant is having a seizure. Noelle and baby Hal are maternal and neo-natal simulators at The Valley Hospital in New Jersey.

Robots aren't limited to the maternity ward. Five-year-old Pedi was just admitted.

"In the past, we mostly lectured, you know, we would bring people in and maybe have a power point," McGovern explained.

Mother and child are doing fine and help others practice for real-life happy endings. The maternal simulators also allow student doctors and nurses to sharpen everyday skills. For example, anesthesiologists can practice giving epidurals and new nurses can learn to time contractions. All in a no-risk environment.

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