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Medicine Science

Cheap Incubator Backpack Could Reduce Infant Deaths 76

Boy Wunda writes "In just one six-month period in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2006, 96 newborn babies who were in need of medical care died before they could get help. In many developing nations, these deaths could be prevented simply by providing better ways for medical responders to transport infants properly over rough terrain and keep them alive until they can reach hospitals and clinics. Now, a group of Colorado State University seniors has designed and filed a patent for a medically equipped incubator backpack unit that they believe can reduce baby deaths in medical emergencies both in the United States and in newly industrialized nations."
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Cheap Incubator Backpack Could Reduce Infant Deaths

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  • by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @03:04PM (#32268428) Homepage
    Even the article say so: "We have to say that being carried skin to skin by a warm human body in a baby-carrier (aka 'kangaroo care') actually sounds a lot more humane, safe and baby-friendly for a newborn than being carried strapped to a board in a giant plastic box...But, we have to ask: wouldn't a low-tech solution of using a cloth baby-carrier on a compassionate person often be better, safer, cheaper and easier than this ginormous contraption? It's been scientifically shown that the best way to regulate the breathing and heartbeat of a newborn infant is to have that infant snuggle up, chest-to-chest, skin-to-skin with his mom or dad right after birth."

    Also, it's 2010. We don't call them 'third world countries' anymore. We call them 'developing nations'. The former is so Cold War...
  • by understress ( 85878 ) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @03:05PM (#32268432)

    While this seems like a great idea for helping babies (I'm not a doctor), why can't they just publish the idea so everyone can benefit instead of just the cities / villages / towns / areas / families / whatever that can afford to buy one? The patent part is all about making money. At the expense of dying children. No different than drug companies (and many others) in my eyes. Although I do have to say that when I was their (apparent) age, I wanted to be filthy rich and didn't see anything wrong with that. Now that I'm (supposedly) more mature (and much older), I see things like this and wonder why can't people just do some things for the good of mankind? No I'm not naive, I just don't understand human nature sometimes.

  • by Combatso ( 1793216 ) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @03:11PM (#32268528)
    my infant was just released from the hospital.. total cost of stay, $101,520 for 68 days... they do it for the good of mankind, so long as mankind has his Health Insuranse Plan card.
  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @03:59PM (#32269232)

    Because here's a bitter reality: a whole bunch of people worked on this thing for a long time - months, or even years, to make it happen. If you want to appeal to emotion ("at the expense of dying children") - I'll do the same - these people quite likely have children who will be homeless and possibly starve if their parents are putting months or years worth of work only to have it given away "for the good of mankind".

    Now if you want to suggest that a government or generous charity should buy it then that's fine, but you can't expect people to starve because the work they have done happens to benefit the needy, because I can tell you the immediate result of that: people won't bother with working on this sort of thing anymore.

  • Re:Hmfff ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @04:25PM (#32269584) Journal

    Yes, it's technically possible to overturn a patent, but an altruist would have to go through a lot of effort and a massive amount of money to gain access to their own invention only to give it away.

    If you invent something, patent it immediately, whether you intend to profit from it or not. If you choose to freely share the invention, fine, at least with a patent on file you won't get some troll who jumps claim on you and starts barring you from using your own invention.

  • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @04:49PM (#32269896)

    they do it for the good of mankind, so long as mankind has his Health Insuranse Plan card

    Why are health care practitioners derided when they want to make a decent living just like the rest of us? The harsh reality is, the only reason your child got such excellent care was because you PAID for it (ok, the insurance paid, and you pay the premiums, but that's splitting hairs). Without the motivation to earn good money, the medical field would not attract the best and brightest minds, nor would we have the fantastic advances in medical advances that we enjoy now. Sure, there are altruistic folks out there who do wonderful work, but there's no way we could care for everyone without the support of a well-financed medical industry like we have now.

    Besides, by law, no one is supposed to be denied emergency medical care in the US [wikipedia.org]. Hospitals simply absorb the cost (well, in reality, they pass the cost onto paying customers) of uninsured patients who can't afford treatment. Incidentally, it's reported now that 55% of emergency care is uncompensated. [acep.org]

  • by Kaboom13 ( 235759 ) <.kaboom108. .at. .bellsouth.net.> on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @05:06PM (#32270090)

    This is a false dichotomy. We can improve the infant mortality rates in the USA and help infants in 3rd world countries. The skills required are different. In this country we need improved hospital standards, better doctor training, increased access to prenatal care, and better education and care for expectant mothers in general. In Brazil they need plastic backpacks with incubators. These guys had the skills and the ideas to do the later, but not the ability to do the former, so they did what they could. It is far more then bitching about it on Slashdot will ever do.

    The problems of the US health care system are entirely political. Doctors, inventors, engineers, can't do much to help on the large scale. We have the technology, we have the funding, we have the infrastructure. These guys saw a problem it was within their power to fix, or at least try to help, so they did it.

  • The same could be said for you.

    is the life you lead after you turn 40 really going to be productive enough to warrant the cost to develop the technologies that let you live that long?

    After your 60? 80?

    You should live bu your post and go jump off a tall bridge.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"