Whidbey General Hospital

Healing Light

Advanced phototherapy at Whidbey General improves care for babies with jaundice.
Healing Light

A baby with jaundice is treated with phototherapy at Whidbey General.

Recently, a newborn was successfully treated at the Whidbey Family Birthplace for some of the highest levels of jaundice ever seen at the hospital.

Newborn jaundice is a common condition caused by high levels in the blood of bilirubin, a naturally occurring, yellow substance created when red blood cells are replaced. When bilirubin cannot be broken down quickly enough by a newborn's liver, the baby's skin and whites of the eyes look yellow. In rare cases, high levels of jaundice can cause serious health problems for the baby.

The baby was admitted by pediatrician Dr. Gabriel Barrio, a member of Whidbey General's medical staff, and immediately placed in one of two new phototherapy units recently added to the Family Birthplace.

Phototherapy uses light to lower bilirubin levels. The advanced technology in the new units provides more light capacity than the three 20-year-old units they replaced.

Within 24 hours, the baby's bilirubin level dropped by nearly half. As a result, the patient avoided the long trip to Seattle Children's Hospital and his parents were spared the anxiety of such a transfer.

The new phototherapy units were purchased thanks to generous gifts to the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation. Your donations support high quality clinical, emergency and inpatient medical services at Whidbey General.