LAS VEGAS -- A local hospital is using a cooling blanket to save the tiniest of patients who are deprived of oxygen at birth.
Oxygen deprivation is rare but it can cause brain damage. While the technology has been around for a couple of years, Summerlin Hospital is the first Las Vegas hospital to have it.
The high-tech blanket can cool a baby in 30 minutes. The temperature is set to a few degrees lower than normal. Doctors also check the baby's internal organs. The whole process takes about 72 hours. Summerlin hospital has a level three neonatal intensive care unit, and the cooling blanket can make an enormous difference for child who's been deprived of oxygen.
"It can be pretty significant because it can be associated with a fairly high death rate, as well as incidents of long-term disability. So, this is something that's come up in the last decade or so and until then, we didn't really have a lot to offer for babies who had this condition," said Dr. Clarissa Gervasio, neonatologist.
In the past, babies with this condition had to be treated out of state. Since there's only a six-hour window to help them, before brain damage sets in, having this technology locally offers a better chance for a baby to have a normal life.
Dr. Gervasio says the long term outcome won't be fully known until the cooling blanket has been in use for many more years.