An R Baby Life-Saving Real Story


An Interview with R Baby Grant Recipient and 2019 Hero Recipient Dr.Jessica Katznelson

How did you become involved with R Baby Foundation?

I am an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  Hopkins is a recipient of an R Baby ImPACT Grant, which I provide the training for, which has allowed us to do simulation training in a number of hospitals in Maryland.

Tell me, what is simulation training?

Simulation training allows doctors to work with what you’d think of as a baby mannequin, like the one you see in a store, only this one has a computer inside. It is a powerful tool. The baby recreates how real-life babies present themselves – from crying to trouble breathing- it lets the staff practice and learn how to recognize symptoms and react to high risk scenarios with speed and confidence. In simulation training there is nothing to lose, in the end it is a piece of plastic but ultimately simulation training saves lives.  

I understand you have expanded your work with simulation training through RBF

Yes, the original grant was for rural hospitals in North Carolina. Our work was very impactful and when the Maryland Chapter of R Baby asked, I was more than thrilled, to continue our training in Maryland hospitals. 

There was a recent case of 9-day old baby in one of those hospitals?

A 9-day old baby started showing concerning symptoms. Her parents brought her in and she was not well at all. We had recently done our simulation training at this hospital with the doctors and staff.  The doctor in the department was able to quickly make sense of the little girl’s symptoms.  He confidently diagnosed an otherwise unrecognized heart defect and was able to deliver the appropriate treatment correctly and quickly.

His knowledge, confidence and agility ultimately saved this little girl’s life.  This was because of R Baby’s simulation training. 

As a doctor, how does this make you feel?

It is incredibly gratifying. As a doctor, I am aware of anecdotal data, showing how outcomes are improving as a result of these positive changes, new resources and equipment. But to hear a story, about a real life saved, well, that is just remarkable and powerful. Better still, it was not a one off. I have just learned of another case, an infant in one of our rural hospitals who was saved from life threatening seizures thanks to a doctor who had gone through our simulation training. 

And how do you experience this as a mother?

I have three healthy children. My family is healthy and intact. Knowing that our work has helped to save lives and keep families from the heartbreak of loss moves and inspires me. 

R Baby has been around for 13 years, how do you think they are doing?

R Baby is an outstanding organization. They understand the value of simulation training as well as educating parents. They continue to make sure that both physicians and parents know what they need to know to save babies’ lives. The grants they provide have changed the landscape of emergency medicine. We have both the tools and the experienced, confident, physicians thanks to the Foundation. I am grateful for all they do.

Read more about Jessica here.

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