Resuscitaire the gift that keeps on giving at BRHS

A generous community donation has already saved the lives of babies at Bairnsdale Regional Health Centre’s Emergency Department.

The Resuscitaire unit for the ED was co-funded between the Gippsland-based Newborn Intensive Care Foundation (NICF) and BRHS, which shared the cost. The Paynesville Opp Shop was a major contributor to NICF for the purchase.

The Resuscitaire is specialist treatment apparatus for children around six months and under, with specialist tools for the ED that help medical specialists to treat tiny patients in emergency events.

It’s the third of its kind at BRHS, which already has them in the maternity unit and theatre. But the standalone unit for the ED saves precious minutes getting a Resuscitaire to ED in an emergency, ED Nurse Unit Manager Trish Young said.


“We have used it quite a bit already, an enormous amount since we have had one in the ED, and it’s readily accessible for us. Every minute is precious,” she said.

“The Resuscitaire unit is like a miniature resuscitation room in itself that’s specifically designed for small babies. It gives us a surface where we can expose and examine a baby under a heating lamp to ensure that whilst we do this, the baby is kept warm.

“It also enables ED clinicians to perform emergency procedures such as intubation, intravenous access, assisted or full ventilation (to assist breathing), and perform other life-saving tasks in the emergency environment.”

One of the ED’s own, Associate Nurse Unit Manager Alex Trimnell, had used Resuscitaire many times in her career but never imagined her newborn son Albie would benefit from one.

Albie was four-and-a-half weeks old when he became dangerously ill with a high temperature and an elevated respiration rate. Alex raced him straight to BRHS, where Trish Young and her ED team swung into action with the help of the Resuscitaire.

“The ED did not have a Resuscitaire of its own at the time, but once it was retrieved from Maternity, within half an hour he had a cannula put in, he had an X-ray and IV antibiotics. It all happened really quickly,” Alex said.

(From left) Paynesville Opp Shop’s Carole Dennison, Neonatal Intensive Care Foundation chair Peter Cursley. BRHS CEO Robyn Hayles and BRHS staff members Alex Trimnell, Trish Young and Laura Griffiths gather around the Resuscitaire and Alex’s son Albie.


“Working around such a small piece of equipment with one person on either side instead of on a standard bed really helped. It was great. We could monitor his temperature the whole time, and it allowed us to see what he was doing with his breathing.”

Albie was flown to Melbourne for additional treatment but is now five months old and fully recovered.

“I had worked with the Resuscitaire in tertiary hospitals. Working in a smaller hospital actually meant we needed the equipment more, because tertiary centres have nurseries, special care units, ICUs and all the equipment in it. It was such a relief to find out we were getting one – then my baby needed it.

“And I can’t thank Trish and the guys enough for what they did for my baby boy.”

Paynesville Opp Shop spokeswoman Carole Dennison said she was pleased to support the NICF.

“We support all local organisations, that’s why the locals love our shop. Apart from paying the electricity bill, nothing goes to waste. Everything goes back to things that help the community, like the hospital,” she said.


BRHS Chief Executive Officer Robyn Hayles thanked the NICF, the Paynesville Opp Shop and all fundraisers for their support.

“The foundation and all our fundraiser groups are so important. We couldn’t do it without them,” she said.

“There is a lot of equipment and maintenance that’s needed just to run the health service but also to progress the health service. We’re four hours from Melbourne, so making sure our staff have the most contemporary equipment to do their jobs is vital. These donations enable this new equipment that saves lives.”

NICF chair Peter Cursley, of Sale, began the foundation following the death of his newborn daughter,  Hanna, in Canberra in 1993. The NICF now raises money for medical equipment, staff training and education or research, depending on need, across Gippsland, Canberra and southern NSW.

Another key fundraiser for the Resuscitaire was the NICF’s Bakes for Babies initiative, in which avid bakers sell their baked goods to donate to the NICF.


Peter is launching two new fundraising initiatives in the lead-up to the festive season – Bubbles for Babies and Baubles for Babies.

“One is Bubbles for Babies, which encourages people to go out and host a champagne lunch to raise money however they can. They might charge money for a seat. The other one is Baubles for Babies. We’re encouraging people to decorate a virtual Christmas tree,” Peter said.

“They can pick a bauble – each one has a value from $20 up to $5,000. They can write a little message and upload an image. And money raised in the region stays in the region. It doesn’t go to head office. Money raised in East Gippsland goes to BRHS or smaller hospitals in this region.”

Peter said Baubles for Babies and Bubbles for Babies would fund new equipment for BRHS’ Maternity Unit.


Maternity Unit Manager Laura Griffiths said her team hopes that funds raised will allow them to buy four Neocots to update its current bedside cots and another vital piece of equipment.

“The Neocots are more comfortable for the babies and they can be lifted to a parent’s or a staff member’s height, which is great for mums who’ve had traumatic births or a caesarian. They night be in pain or they can’t bend or lift,” she said.

“And we’re hoping for an iStat machine, which will allow us to run blood tests on babies who come out a little flatter than we expect without going to another department. It can indicate what might be going on and help us to deliver better care.”

For more details about the NICF and its fundraising, go to:

More from our Latest News

Got Something To Say? We're Listening.

If you have a compliment, a complaint, or a suggestion on how we can improve our service, we’d like to hear it. Use our feedback form to send us your message.