Baby William Stephenson was born full term on April 22, 2016 at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and body. Immediately after the delivery, William stopped breathing.
William’s mother, Desirae recalled, “There was a lot activity going on. Doctors were working to get him breathing again and took him away to the nursery. About 90 minutes later, my OB returned to tell me that he had a fever and poor blood counts. The doctors really weren’t sure what was going on, but they were looking for a room in a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) somewhere,” she said. The weather that night prevented a helicopter from flying, but SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital dispatched their ground transportation team to bring William to St. Louis. During the wait, Dr. Tony Lam (Desirae’s obstetrician) and other doctors in Ste. Genevieve dialed into telemedicine as doctors in St. Louis guided them through stabilizing the baby.
“I remember the staff helping me walk to the nursery where I could see the whole team surrounding William’s bed and the telemedicine screen where they communicated with the doctors at Glennon,” Desirae said. SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Dr. Ayoob Ali was part of William’s case. “We can see babies really close, and with the help of [the] pediatrician, we can make an assessment about what’s going on,” he said. When the ground transport team arrived at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital, they prepared Desirae and husband, Kenny that William would likely need transfusions and a cooling blanket, in addition to his respiratory support. They headed to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon at 5:36 am. Desirae was discharged from the hospital and she and husband, Kenny arrived to the NICU at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon by 12:00 pm that same day.
Desirae remembers seeing William for that first time in the NICU, saying, “There was a lot going on. He had a feeding tube, oxygen, and was on a cooling mat, still. But they had a plan for William, and we just needed to see how he responded.” Over the next 10 days, William progressed beautifully. Scans revealed no evidence of brain damage; his blood counts and blood sugar stabilized, and he advanced on his feedings at a good pace. They were discharged from the hospital with only a few follow-up needs, and today, William is a happy, healthy 2-year-old meeting all of his developmental milestones. “I am so thankful for the transport team and NICU team at Cardinal Glennon. And I absolutely credit the telemedicine technology for William’s positive outcome”, says Desirae. “It gave my doctors the guidance they needed at the most critical time.” Adds Dr. Tony Lam, “That baby would not have been alive today without this technology and Dr. Ali’s help.”