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Fritz Stephan GmbH.
Specialist medical equipment for new-borns:
Helping premature babies to breathe easily The German company Fritz Stephan GmbH is a market leader and innovator when it comes to respirators for premature babies and new-borns in intensive care. It is a delicate task, because their physiology is very different compared to that of adults: The lungs are not fully developed and therefore very stiff, so the airflow has to be regulated carefully to avoid damaging the lungs. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN I PHOTOS: FRITZ STEPHAN GMBH
Oxygen is vital for every living being and providing patients who have breathing problems with the right amount of oxygen is already difficult under normal circumstances, but more so when it comes to tiny babies. Not enough oxygen in the blood is of course dangerous, but so is giving too much oxygen as it could, for example, lead to retinopathy of prematurity, the scarring or detachment of the retina. Together with the children’s hospital of the university Ulm, Fritz Stephan GmbH has developed the SPOC-SpO2 Controller for its SOPHIE respirator, which stabilises the oxygen saturation automatically. Conventionally the oxygen saturation of the blood is measured through pulse oximetry and a nurse has to adjust the oxygen level now and then, which takes time and is stressful for staff and the baby’s parents. SPOC measures the 66 | Issue 58 | January 2018
oxygen saturation to adjust it automatically – for example adding more oxygen when the baby starts moving around. Managing director Tanja Stephan puts the company’s main focus on the needs and well-being of the hospital’s smallest patients: The company invests a lot into developing new and innovative technologies.“Tanja Stephan leaves our technicians and developers much space and freedom,” says head of marketing Bernd Höhne.“We are allowed to be creative which sometimes leads to thinking into the wrong direction.” That of course causes additional costs, but is a freedom that is necessary when looking for new, creative ideas. In 1998 Tanja Stephan took over the company from her father and company founder Fritz Stephan.
The researchers and developers at Fritz Stephan GmbH work closely together with hospitals, doctors and nurses to determine which developments are necessary. “We have to listen very closely if we want to develop the right device at the right time. Next to the physiological and medical background we also have to know the normal routines on a ward,”says Bernd Höhne. The team at Fritz Stephan GmbH additionally works together with universities, for example Bachelor and Master students who write their thesis while undertaking an internship here. www.stephan-gmbh.com Respirator EVE Neo.
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