New, high-tech incubator at St. Joseph Warren Hospital will provide extra care for preemies

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Purchasing the Giraffe Incubator was a priority because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but staff members say it'll serve them well after the health emergency, too

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – St. Joseph Warren Hospital now has a new tool to care for newborn babies. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was a driving factor for purchasing the new device, hospital staff said it can be used for so much more and will be important even after the public health emergency.

The Giraffe Incubator is a new addition to the nursery at St. Joe’s.

“I mean, it’s very, very high-tech,” said Debbie Pollander, labor and delivery nurse manager.

The infant care station comes with a roughly $30,000 price tag and serves as an isolette. The hospital bought it in April and it arrived about six weeks ago.

The purchase was made possible, thanks to generous donations to the Mercy Health Foundation and it was expedited because of the pandemic.

“In the beginning, as moms deliver, if they were positive or suspected to be positive, isolating the newborn immediately after delivery was the CDC recommendation,” said Anna Klejka, director of women’s and children’s services.

Hospital staff said the device’s importance goes beyond the current public health emergency.

“If we had a preemie baby that we ended up trying to keep warm — like any baby that was born after, like, 32 weeks and was stable and just needed temperature regulation — we would put the baby in this unit,” Pollander said.

“We will request, perhaps, future funding for this because, certainly as a level 2 maternity service, we do take care of infants up to 32 weeks gestation,” Klejka said.

The Giraffe Incubator hasn’t been used yet, but staff members said it’s ready to go and equipped with the latest technology.

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