An improvement on the polyethylene bags used to retain body temperature in premature infants. Awarded 1st place in a RISD/Brown University collaborative medical design course.
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The beginning of life is a chaotic time. As a medical team looks on a scene such as this, there are a million questions running through their heads, and just as many tasks to be attended to. How the medical team responds to the present variables can have lifelong implications for the child.
One of the biggest concerning factors is the infant's temperature. Optimal temperature is critical to the lasting health of premature infants. For every 1°C decrease in admission temperature, mortality increases by 28%.
It is recommended to immediately cover any preterm infant in a polyethylene bag to limit heat loss through evaporation of fluids on their skin. The current solution at Women & Infants Hosptial in Providence is a rectangular bag with a small slit. The staff here complain of constant struggles to quickly cover the infant with this bag. One person has to hold it open while the other tries to slide in a wet and fragile infant in a high-stress environment, which is like trying to put a glove on a wet hand, but with a child’s life at stake.
Working in a team of two medical students, one Brown university student, and myself, we sought to create a more reliable and effective solution. By exploring different methods of covering the infant we found the fastest and most reliable method, a foldable sheet that is wrapped around the baby. We then explored graphic styles and what best communicated how to interact with the wrap, experimenting with color, letters, numbers, symbols, and lines. After over 25 different iterations we came to a design that was easily read by both those unfamiliar with the product/process as well as trained professionals.
Below is a video of Women and Infants staff using their current solution alongside our prototype. It's clear how problematic the current solution is, and the benefits our solution offers.
Special thanks to our advisor and mentor Ravi D'Cruz and the wonderful staff at Women and Infants Hospital.