New Cuddle Cot at Reid Health Gives Families Precious Time // Cuddle Cot

Thanks in part to selfless people who look through personal tragedy to care for the wellbeing of others, Reid Health will soon be able to offer a precious opportunity to parents suffering the loss of an infant- more time with their baby. This new option, offered through a system called a Cuddle Cot, is now at Reid Health because of the inspirational efforts of Reid Health Mother-Baby Care Unit patients Brittany & Kyle Irvine, and LaCole & Marcus Fleagle.

After suffering the death of their son Brantley while he was in the womb, Brittany and Kyle had mere hours to be with and hold their child before nature took its course and affected his condition. “Changes with the baby happen really quickly after passing,” says Brittany. Her husband Kyle continues- “We had 4 hours with Brantley.” They left the hospital without their son, and went home to their family to grieve for Brantley. In searching for ways to cope with their tragedy, the couple found an opportunity to help other families through the loss of a young child.

Brittany and Kyle learned about the Cuddle Cot, a system made by British company Flexmort. The system can be used in the mother-baby room, emergency room, or wherever necessary within the hospital. Cuddle Cot cools the baby with a special mat, which can be placed under a blanket in baby’s bassinet. According to the company’s website, cooling provides grieving families up to 48 more hours with their child by slowing the natural deterioration of the infant’s condition. This option, says Brittany, would have allowed them more time to bond with Brantley.

Giving other grieving families this opportunity inspired the Irvines to make a Cuddle Cot available for use at Reid. While the Cuddle Cot is widely used in the U.K., relatively few United States hospitals have yet to adopt the technology.

Brittany and Kyle teamed with Reid Foundation to begin a project to raise the funds necessary to bring a Cuddle Cot to Reid. Reid Foundation promised Brittany and Kyle that they would match the amount of money they raised- up to the full cost of a new Cuddle Cot.

The Irvines teamed up with another Richmond couple, LaCole & Marcus Fleagle, to start their fundraising effort. LaCole and Marcus shared the Irvine’s passion for the project; she and her husband also suffered the loss of a son. “We want parents to be able to spend as much time as possible with their infant before they say their final goodbyes. We remember only being able to spend a short 1-2 hour period with our son before the body’s natural process started to take its course and our time was cut short.”

To start the effort, the couples reached out to their employers and others in the community, like Eaton, Ohio-based Henny Penny. Then, they turned to social media to raise awareness. “The ability to reach so many people in a short amount of time was tremendous,” says LaCole, “You do not realize how many people have been affected by the loss of an infant and those people stepped up and contributed and shared our story.”

The Irvine’s and Fleagle’s quickly raised their portion of the necessary funds, “A week after talking to Reid Foundation about starting the project, we were able to go back to them and say we’d done it,” says Brittany. She’s enthusiastic about the healing that Cuddle Cot can bring to suffering families, and is proud of Reid’s involvement- “Reid is such a pillar in our community. They do everything they can to make themselves available to everyone.”

With Reid Foundation’s matching donation, the Cuddle Cot was purchased and delivered to Reid Health. It will be put into use in the coming months. “Reid was only the 5th hospital in Indiana to have a Cuddle Cot,” according to Brittany, who is looking to the future. “Our ultimate goal is to make sure every hospital in America has one.” LaCole shares the same drive. “The Cuddle Cot project is amazing and more hospitals need to jump on board. Hopefully our story will allow people to fundraise and purchase Cuddle Cots in their communities.”