'AngelEye' cameras help families connect with babies in NICU at Wilmington children's hospital

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- It's hard enough for parents to have a newborn receiving care in a hospital NICU, but during a pandemic, the restrictions are adding an even greater strain.

Nemours A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington has added a special way to connect families with their babies.

They call them AngelEye cameras and they're at every NICU bedside. It's real-time, secure video that allows families to see their child 24/7.

"This is brand new, as of just a couple of weeks ago," says Elizabeth Bradley, the nurse manager at the hospital. "Families are able to log in day or night anytime to see a live stream video of their baby."

Justin Harrell and his family live two hours downstate in Selbyville.

"It's been immensely helpful for us because we are two hours away," Harrell says. "It is hard to see her, we're not here every day."

Their baby girl Loa was born was born very prematurely - at just 24 weeks.

"She's still our child and we want to have eyes on her as much as we can. It makes me happy to know that she's happy and to be able to just look at her and see her face," Harrell said.

Loa is now 4 months old and is still receiving care at the NICU.

This has also been the only way her big brother, 2-year-old Coast, has been able to meet her.

"It gives him an opportunity to see that he does have a sister and she is real," Harrell says. "It's kind of hard because he can't visit with COVID and all the restrictions going on. The grandparents also haven't been able to meet her either. Everybody's been taking advantage of the situation, trying to use it as much as they can, so that way they can see her and see her grow. It's going to be a couple of months at least until she's home, so it gives them an opportunity to kind of bond in a way."

The hospital's auxiliary donated the funds to purchase the cameras with proceeds from sales in the gift shop.
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