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Crystal Ball auction shines for nursery at Robinwood

April 17, 2005|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - More than $120,000 was raised at Saturday's Crystal Ball fund-raiser at Robinwood Medical Center.

The money raised will go toward a new pediatric nursery to treat premature babies or newborns born with medical complications at Washington County Hospital, said Dr. John G. Newby, event chairman.

Funds raised at Crystal Ball fund-raisers are earmarked to support special projects within the Washington County Health System, organizers said.

"Healthy babies older than 32 weeks will be able to stay in Washington County," Newby said.

In its 11th year, the Crystal Ball, which is sponsored by Antietam Healthcare Foundation, a subsidiary of Washington County Health System Inc., is one in a series of fund-raisers being held this year to raise money for a special-care nursery that will be equipped to treat up to five infants at a time.

Washington County Hospital serves about 300 babies from throughout the Tri-State area who need special medical attention.

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"Upgrading the level of care will allow us to keep most of these babies here, and they won't have to be separated from their families," said Debbie Malick, a clinical director with the hospital.

In the past, premature babies or those with medical complications were transferred to Johns Hopkins or the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore for special care.

"The new facility will have a neonatologist and monitor babies with 24-hour, seven-day-a-week coverage," Malick said.

Newborns in need of special medical attention typically experience hospital stays that might last from a couple of days to as long as three months, she said.

Equipped with incubators, cardiac monitoring devices and oxygen blenders, the new Level Two nursery is scheduled to open by this fall, said Maureen Theriault, hospital public relations director.

About 320 people attended this year's fund-raiser. Money was raised through corporate sponsors, ticket sales and the sale of gifts.

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