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Family donates device to Pierre hospital after losing baby

PIERRE (AP) -- A family has donated to a Pierre hospital a crib-cooling device that preserves the bodies of stillborn babies for several hours after their birth.

PIERRE (AP) - A family has donated to a Pierre hospital a crib-cooling device that preserves the bodies of stillborn babies for several hours after their birth.

Meghan Anderson and her family donated the device known as a "Cuddle Cot" to Avera St. Mary's Hospital a year after she gave birth to a stillborn baby, the Capital Journal reported this week. Anderson said she only had about 12 hours before her baby had to be taken to the funeral home and those hours went by in a blur.

"I got to see my daughter for 12 hours after she was born and then I never saw her again," Meghan Anderson said. The Andersons named their daughter Violet Fey. Some family members were able to travel to Pierre to meet her and say goodbye, but there wasn't enough time for other relatives to travel or for the parents to make decisions about pictures and hand and foot molds.

That lack of time is one of the main reasons why the Andersons made the donation through the Avera St. Mary's Foundation.

"A gift of time is what it really is," Meghan Anderson said.

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The device preserves the body of a stillborn baby in a crib or bassinet for several hours as it acts as a cooling surface, slowing down the deterioration of the body, and therefore, allowing parents to spend additional time with the baby. The newspaper reported that the device can maintain a body for up to 48 hours.

Dr. Jessica Rasmussen, an OB-GYN at Avera St. Mary's Hospital, said stillbirth and pregnancy loss is not "an uncommon event." The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that 25,000 babies are delivered stillborn at 20 weeks or greater in the U.S. every year.

"I think the Cuddle Cot is a great addition to the hospital," Rasmussen said.

Related Topics: PIERREHEALTH
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