CORNER BROOK — Feb. 24, 2006 should have been the happiest day of Robyn Butt’s life.
But when her son Logan Butt was born at Western Memorial Regional Hospital things suddenly turned very scarey.
Logan was born with a blood infection and cranial bleeding.
The blood infection was diagnosed first, said Butt, who lives in Mount Moriah.
“And that was because of the symptoms that he had when he was born. He wasn’t moving and so then they knew something was wrong and they wanted to do some testing on him.”
Logan underwent a spinal tap and blood and urine testing before the infection was diagnosed and antibiotic treatment started.
Then a cranial ultrasound detected the bleeding.
Butt and her boyfriend Chris Burton thought Logan may have to be transferred to another hospital, but thankfully he could be treated here.
Logan, now six, spent the first five days of his life in an Isolette in the newborn nursery at the hospital.
Butt describes those days as “torture.”
“Because we couldn’t hold him. He was being feb by a tube and he was hooked to heart monitors and IVs and things like that,” she said.
“It was so difficult.”
An Isolette is a specialized incubator that provides controlled heat, humidity and oxygen levels for newborns who require special care. It is made of a clear plastic material and has a large door and portholes for easy access to the infant.
The Isolette that Logan was placed in was purchased with money raised by an annual wine tasting fundraiser for the Western Regional Hospital Foundation that is dedicated to the hospital’s maternal newborn unit.
The fundraiser was started by Rod Lyver. Helping him with organizing and running it are Bob Mercer and Paul Dicks. The wine used comes from Dick’s personal collection.
Lyver’s daughter Doreen was born at Western Memorial in 1994. In need of more specialized care she was sent first to the Janeway in St. John’s and then to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. She died in the Ottawa hospital less than two months after she was born.
In her short time at Western Memorial, Lyver saw that the maternal newborn unit was lacking in some equipment and wanted to do something to help, and something that would be in her memory.
“Because there was so much stuff that wasn’t there,” he said. “But by purchasing this equipment they can diagnose earlier. They can get solutions earlier.”
Over the years the wine tasting has raised in excess of $100,000 and that money has been used to purchase a number of items including pediatric scales, bassinets and baskets, oxygen flow meters and furniture and appliances for use on the unit. Some of it is spent in partnership with the Janeway to purchase bigger items like the Isolette.
Lyver said staff in the unit are directly involved in deciding how the money is spent.
“They decide what’s fallen through the cracks, what they need,” he said.
Meanwhile, Logan is a prime example of the people helped by the fundraiser.
Once on the mend, he was released from hospital and for the first six months of his life underwent monthly ultrasounds to check the bleeding.
“Eventually it shrank and went away,” said his mom.
And today he’s a happy, healthy boy who is about to finish kindergarten.
“It’s a big difference from when he was born,” said Butt. “He had no movement, he wasn’t active at all. Now you can’t slow him down if you tried.”
Butt is currently working for the hospital foundation, but said she had no idea the Isolette was purchased through the foundation until she started work there.
“It’s good to know. It makes you want to get out there and donate and campaign for it,” she said.
This year’s wine tasting event will be held on Saturday at Strawberry Hill. Limited tickets are available for the event and anyone interested in attending can contact the foundation at 637-5353.