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Westfields 'CuddleCot' helps comfort families with infant loss

Pictured (from left) are Laurie and Dave Sandquist, Mindy Milich, Bruce Hanson and Jean Meier, manager of Women’s Health at Westfields Hospital & Clinic. Submitted photo

Sept. 29 is a special day for Dave and Laurie Sandquist of Hudson. Their son, Carter Gerald was born on that day in 1999. In July of that year, their unborn son was diagnosed with Triploidy, a fatal chromosome abnormality. They had three days with Carter before his death on Oct.1.

To give families more time with their "little angels," the Sandquists chose Carter's 18th birthday to donate a CuddleCot to Westfields Hospital & Clinic. A CuddleCot is a bassinet that uses a medical cooling system that delays changes to a stillborn child. The cooling unit is hidden inside the sheets of the bassinet, allowing a serene setting for parents.

The gift is given in memory of Carter and in honor of Dr. Bruce Hanson, who cared for Laurie during her pregnancy, and Carter's aunt, Mindy Milich. It was Carter who inspired Milich, a high school student at the time, to become a nurse. She now works as a registered nurse at Westfields.

The family raised funds through a local nonprofit organization, Halos of St. Croix Valley, whose mission is to provide ongoing support, encouragement and assistance to families who are grieving the loss of a child.

Family and staff gathered recently to dedicate the donation and celebrate with a birthday cake. Curt Thomassen, chaplain, offered a blessing.

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