Right now, some of the tiniest patients in the hospital are getting their best chance at survival thanks to a new life-saving program that uses something you probably have in your kitchen right now.
A Ziploc freezer bag!
It turns out this is one of the best tools for helping extremely premature babies survive their first few hours of life.
At just 30 weeks, Emma weighed three pounds; her sister Abigail weighed 2 pounds 11 ounces.
"They’re super tiny," said mom Christine Evans.
But nurses already had a plan in place, seconds after they were born. Both girls went into Ziploc freezer bags, and under their caps were elastic bowl covers on their tiny heads!
"Seeing them in Ziploc bags was very odd. I didn't expect that one," said Jason Evans, the newborns' dad.
"The freezer grade bag is what worked for us," said NICU manager and nurse Lindsey Cannon.
Stephanie Eidson and Lindsey Canon are part of the hospital team that conducted a study on how they could help fragile infants stay warm from the minute they're born.
Preemies with temperatures below 96 point eight are at a higher risk for infection and death.
"They don't have the reserves, the resources, the brown fat to keep their temperature up, so they need help," said clinical educator Stephanie Eidson.
The study and subsequent changes, like warmer delivery rooms, have resulted in fewer babies coming to the neonatal intensive care unit with dangerously low body temperatures.
"We want babies to have good outcomes, so this was something we needed to do," said Eidson.
"We could have been at any other hospital and not had the same outcome. We don't know, but we were in the right place at the right time," said mother Evans.
The hospital says it’s a team effort using preheated radiant warmers and thermal mattresses, along with the freezer bags and warmer hospital rooms.
Incidentally, the staff working in the delivery rooms need to wear cooling vests just to stay comfortable.