LAFAYETTE, Indiana - A local family has donated a Cuddle Cot to Franciscan Health Center for Women & Children Lafayette. This cooling system allows grieving families more time to say goodbye when a baby is stillborn or passes shortly after birth.
Today Carissa and Caleb Bartholomew of Lafayette presented a Cuddle Cot to Franciscan Health Lafayette East. A Cuddle Cot is a portable cooling mat that can be used in a crib or bassinet to preserve the body of a newborn that has died. The couple, who has two boys at home and another child on the way, donated the piece of equipment in honor of their daughter Zoe who died shortly after birth. The Indianapolis hospital where Zoe was born had a Cuddle Cot. "We were blessed to be able to use a Cuddle Cot during our days with her to preserve her body so we could take pictures, hold her, make memories with her and perhaps most importantly, let her brothers meet her," recalls Carissa Bartholomew.
Upon hearing that neither hospital in Lafayette had a Cuddle Cot, the family started raising funds and through a partnership with the non-profit group, He Knows Your Name, they were able to purchase a Cuddle Cot for Franciscan Health Lafayette East. On average, a Cuddle Cot costs around $3,000.
The Cuddle Cot will be used in the Franciscan Health Center for Women & Children that is home to the birthing center and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Lafayette. The donation will be a welcomed addition to the hospital's current infant bereavement program that provides an "angel box" with items that help families create memories with their child. The box includes a book for discussing loss with siblings as well as many keepsake items such as a kit to create a hand or foot print. A number of Franciscan Health facilities host memorial services and support groups for families who experience the loss of a newborn.
"We are so thankful that Carissa and Caleb chose to donate the Coddle Cot to us," said Marcia Cherry, RN, director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Franciscan Health Lafayette East. "No family expects to lose an infant and this piece of equipment will allow grieving parents to take the time they need to mourn the loss of their baby."
Watch the video from local news channel WLFI.
By Tricia Schuessler
Manager, Marketing and Public Relations