Telemedicine brings St. Louis NICU services to Marion, Illinois

MARION, IL – People in the Marion area longer have to travel to St. Louis to get treatment for their baby’s serious health problems. New technology at Heartland Regional Medical Center in Marion, Illinois, through a partnership with SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis brings the St. Louis neonatal intensive care unit to Marion.


Meet Quincy Allen. He’s the fourth child in his family, the third in three years. They were all born at Heartland Regional Medical Center. Just like his siblings, Quincy’s mother thought he was born happy and healthy, until the doctors noticed something different.

“She came in to talk to me and said there is an issue going on. Don’t know exactly what yet. His oxygen is not evening out and going in and out of the heart,” said Brittany Allen, Quincy’s mother.

That’s when doctors said they would need to send her and Quincy to St. Louis. But, with three other kids at home, that wasn’t convenient. Instead, Quincy became one of the first babies to use a telemedicine cart that allows doctors in St. Louis to treat babies without being in the same room with them, sending echocardiogram, or echo, images and other information.

“The doctors were able to read it right there and see what was going on,” said Allen.

A doctor at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital can examine a baby via a monitor and work with the medical team at Heartland.

“We can diagnose without even having to leave,” said Allen.

Heartland’s chief operating officer said that is exactly their goal.

“You don’t need to leave this community to get a high quality, high level of care with outstanding personal services,”  said Heartland COO Hans Driessnack.

For Allen, staying in her community meant everything.

“Getting to stay here and have my babies come and see me was imperative,” she said.

Through the echo, doctors found that Quincy’s heart issue would heal itself. The telemedicine cart was funded by the Heartland Regional Medical Center and cost $52,000 to own.

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