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A vein viewer in action (Photo from the Howard Hospital Foundation).
A vein viewer in action (Photo from the Howard Hospital Foundation).

Cupcakes fund vein viewer for Howard hospital

A new tool that will allow the pediatric emergency team at Howard County General Hospital to more easily locate patients’ veins was financed with a little help from pastry.

The vein viewer uses near-infrared light to capture an image of the patient’s veins and valves, then projects it in real time back on the patient’s skin so clinicians can more easily find good veins to give IV therapy and avoid unnecessary punctures.

The device, which costs about $15,000, was financed by donations from Kupcakes & Co., a bakery in Elkridge. Owner Michelle Kupiec said she’s seen the need for these tools firsthand.

“Our daughter, Amanda, was chronically ill as a child and spent a lot of time in the hospital and emergency department,” Kupiec said in a statement. “The most traumatic thing for her was always getting an IV.”

The money was raised through an annual Christmas fundraising event the bakery has held for the past five years.

Before the vein viewer was available, IVs were given to infants by turning out the lights and shining a light on the babies’ hands, according to Laura Hagan, nurse manager of the hospitals Pediatric Emergency Department. The viewer will improve comfort and safety not only for the patients but for the staff as well, she said.

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