Bobby of Mary D, PA, didn’t take his first breathe until 10 minutes after he was born. It took the staff at his local hospital another two minutes of ventilating and chest compressions to stabilize him. Linda, Bobby’s mother, suffered a prolapsed umbilical cord during his birth-a sudden disconnect of blood supply and oxygen from her to Bobby.
Geisinger Pediatrician, Dr. Pat Kane, MD, was there when Bobby was delivered and remembered a critical piece of equipment at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Janet Weis Children's Hospital at Geisinger in Danville. She acted quickly to have Bobby transported to Geisinger via Life Flight® so that the staff there could use a device called a Cool Cap on him.
A Cool Cap is a soft, plastic, fitted cap for a newborn’s head that has channels throughout so that water can be cooled and evenly distributed around the head. This device is designed to keep the brain below a certain temperature so that it is preserved and protected from swelling, which can cause permanent damage.
“He fit every criteria for the Cool Cap. It’s critical to get a baby’s brain cooled down within 6 hours in this situation. I honestly didn’t think he would make it because he was very limp and not moving around like a newborn baby; even after we resuscitated him” Dr Kane said.
Once he arrived at the NICU at Geisinger, it was determined that Bobby had suffered moderate brain damage. He was put in the capable hands of Dr. James Cook, MD, Neonatalogist, who remembers Bobby: “He had evidence of brain injury due to lack of oxygen and no heart rate. We started cooling his brain down within hours of his birth. We had the cool cap ready when he arrived and started immediately.”
Linda said that she was told that Bobby’s brain had significant swelling and that he could have ended up with Cerebral Palsy without the use of the Cool Cap. Dr. Cook stated that timing is crucial with the whole process: “Within 72 hours after we start using the Cool Cap, we start the re-warming process, as long as we see that this is working we wean the baby off.” Bobby had a very easy transition onto and off of the Cool Cap and his stay in the NICU ended up being about 10 days.
Bobby was sent home with only seizure medication for the quiet seizures he was experiencing as a result of his traumatic birth. By age one, he outgrew his seizures and spent most of his first year of life doing physical therapy and occupational therapy sessions. The therapy paid off as Bobby reached important milestones of crawling at seven months and walking at eight months. He comes back to Geisinger annually for check-ups with Neurodevelopmental specialist, Dr. Thomas Challman, M.D., to make sure he continues to achieve appropriate developmental milestones.
Today, Bobby Edmonds is a healthy two-and a half-year-old who is constantly on the go and who loves Thomas the Train® and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show. Bobby has three older siblings to keep up with and in fact, Linda claims that is his favorite sport right now. She attributes his very normal activity to Dr. Kane’s quick thinking and to his excellent care in the NICU at Geisinger.
“Dr. Kane’s decision to call Life Flight and to take him to Janet Weis Children’s Hospital because she knew about the Cool Cap was so important…..that Cool Cap made all of the difference in his condition and how healthy he is today.”
Dr. Kane is now Bobby’s pediatrician and agrees: “Bobby is a typical active little boy; and a true miracle.”
The state-of-the-art Cool Cap used to prevent swelling in Bobby’s brain was purchased just a few years ago with Children’s Miracle network donations.