Breaking Down the Badge: Neonatology

This past year, the Division of Neonatology was ranked 15th in the nation by U.S.News & World Report. Specialists from the division care for infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and provide consultation for newborns in the Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit (CCU). The NICU is a state-designated Level IV nursery with 44 private rooms to help babies sleep more soundly and heal faster.

Sharon Haskell, RN, who’s been a NICU nurse for 22 years, is convinced the quieter atmosphere allowed one of her patients to be discharged earlier. “We were able to keep noise levels down and allow the baby to sleep better. That would’ve been impossible at Children’s Memorial with seven other babies in the same room.”

The team also has direct access to Prentice Women’s Hospital. The close relationship with and proximity to Prentice let the team immediately care for newborns who need urgent treatment, while keeping them close to their mothers as they recover from delivery.

Twenty-four hours after first-time mom, Kathleen Foster, delivered at Prentice in June 2012, her son Mickey began having seizures and was transferred to our NICU. “I know at the old hospital there was no way I could’ve seen my baby right away,” says Kathleen, who was allowed to spend four hours at a time at her baby’s bedside. “It would’ve been devastating if I couldn’t have been with him. I don’t know how moms did it before.”

These features all help us live up to our commitment to care for the smallest and sickest newborn babies, like the Moravec twins, who were born in early 2013.

Quick Action When it Matters Most

When Amy and Chris Moravec were told one of their babies was showing stress in utero four weeks before their scheduled caesarian section, doctors at Prentice performed an emergency delivery for their two premature babies. Two neonatologists and their teams were standing by after the procedure, waiting for the twins to cross the bridge from Prentice.

One of the babies, Ellenore, needed to undergo a balloon atrial septostomy, which is a heart procedure. David Wax, MD, a cardiologist, collaborated with our neonatologists to perform the surgery and get Ellenore’s heart in working condition before her open-heart surgery six weeks later. Her sister, Charlotte, joined her in the NICU after a surgery to remove a section of her bowel to help with feeding.

While Ellenore and Charlotte recuperated and prepared for their next procedures, their mother Amy spent most of her maternity leave cradling them together in a rocking chair. Learn more about the Moravecs’ story.

Making Sure Babies Thrive After the NICU & CCU

Programs like our Neonatal and Cardiac Intensive Care Follow-up Clinic give babies like Ellenore and Charlotte the kind of comprehensive care they need. Children who are born prematurely or have had medical complications are at an increased risk of having challenges with their development. To make sure former inpatients reach their full potential, a multidisciplinary team provides developmental follow-up care to babies that have been released from the NICU and CCU.

Our neonatology team’s specialized and thorough care has helped calm Amy and Chris’s nerves. “We felt lucky to have Lurie Children’s right here.” 

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