Video app connects parents with patients in NICU

From neonatal intensive care unit to cell phone

ST. PETERSBURGH, Fla. - The neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, is a stressful place and even more so for parents who can't be at their new baby's side.

But new technology aims to help bridge the gap between the parent and patient at all times.

Antoinette Goggins is a mother of five and can't make it to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital every day. Her son, 3-month-old Ahmad, is still recovering from an infection in his intestine.

"It was very hard trying to balance between hospital mom and home mom," Antoinette said.

New technology is helping parents like her stay connected.

"He's a fighter. You know, looking at him, I'm amazed at how far he's come," Antoinette said.

It allows her to keep an eye on little Ahmad even when she's at home one county away. Angel Eye gives families a chance to access livestream videos from the hospial straight to the family's phone.

"Some days, I can't get up here," Antoinette said. "It's easier for me to get on my app, type in my password and able to see exactly what he's doing in the moment.

Angel Eye gives Antoinette a peace of mind at the push of a button.

"It's almost like he's right there," she said. "I have the phone in the bed. It's almost like he's right there in my arms."

The hospital is hoping to expand the pilot program.

NICU registered nurse Shawna Christophersen said the program is very exciting for the hospital.

"It helps decrease anxiety a whole lot because a part of not knowing what's going on is what adds to their anxiety," Christophersen said.

Antoinette predicts another three months for her little son at the NICU. She looks forward to exchanging virtual kisses for the real thing at home.

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