The machines


This is Archie’s ventilator. As you can see it’s on very low settings because his lungs are working just fine. The 21 in the lower right is the percentage of oxygen he’s on – i.e. normal air. (He’s actually on a slightly higher setting now post-op because he’s on narcotics for pain which can depress his breathing). The 11 and 5 on the bottom row are pressures, again very low. Don’t ask me to explain everything here; I’m a games programmer Jim, not a doctor! Actually, I was impressed with the touch-screen UI. All those dial-looking things are real dials that you just touch and turn to where you want them.


This one is his monitor for various vital signs. The right half of the screen is his (you can see his name at the very top right), the left is another patient. It’s all configurable, but I think the nurses usually display two because it’s one nurse per two patients.

The top chart is his ECG. The next one down is his breathing. These two both vary all the time according to his mood and whether the nurses are doing anything he considers uncomfortable (like suctioning his airway). As you can see, he was pretty relaxed when I took this pic. Third reading down is the pulse ox(imeter). This sets off an alarm when he “desats” i.e. the oxygen saturation of his blood drops below 88. This can happen momentarily when he gets suctioned or when perhaps he is working hard on a diaper and holding his breath! Fourth and fifth lines are CO2 partial pressure and blood pressure. These don’t vary much at all. And at the bottom is the alarm history. Generally there are alarms going off all over the NICU all the time but they are just transient issues as I mentioned. Half the time I think the kids pull the leads off too!

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