High-tech baby talk crucial in saving lives

PORTLAND, Ore. - An unexpected complication in the delivery room can change a baby's life forever and specialists qualified to make quick decisions aren't always in the same hospital or sometimes even the same state.

That's where a robot with perfect eyes and ears comes in, and that robot is what helped out newborn Vivian Rose Charlet.

She came into this word with two surprises - five weeks early and a major health scare.

"They weren't bringing her back," said Vivian's mother, Lindsey. "And it was pretty obvious at that point. Everyone talks about how they bring the baby back and you bond. And that wasn't happening."

Vivian wasn't getting enough oxygen in her blood. She was born at Legacy Good Samaritan, but the hospital is not staffed for high-risk deliveries.

"And that's when I realized everybody was looking at the monitor," Lindsey said.

That monitor gave Vivian and her family a lifeline and access to nurse practitioners who may not even be in the same hospital but specialize in newborn emergencies, like breathing distress and heart failure.

The robot is just a camera that turns and zooms 360 degrees, but the specialist can watch and listen to what's going on and help out when needed.

Legacy Good Samaritan only has one robot. Some hospitals don't have any. But someday, every hospital could have one, even rural ones. Doctors could have one at their home, or they could even have the technology in their cellphone.

The specialist watching Vivian decided to rush her to a children's hospital where she stayed for three weeks.

Now finally home, her family can thank the robot - the eyes and ears that make all the difference when seconds count.

Legacy Good Samaritan installed its robotic baby video system in May. The hospital's used it 15 times, including when Vivian was born. All those babies survived.