June 5, 2015 - Nacogdoches Medical Center continues its commitment to bringing high quality acute medical care to the residents of East Texas with an investment of over $2 million for the construction of a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This 8-bed Level II NICU will provide the expertise, compassion and support needed to achieve the best possible outcomes for premature and critically-ill newborns.
“This project will fulfill a significant need in Nacogdoches and our surrounding service area,” said Scott Sundell, Director of Business Development. “An expert team of neonatologists and specially trained nurses will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Babies born prematurely or who need more intensive treatment will now be able to remain close to home and receive specialized, high quality care.”
Though most babies are born healthy, sometimes they require a higher level of care. According to the March of Dimes, nearly 1 in 7 newborns require admission to a NICU and usually stay for about 10 days . “Based on the approximately 2,000 annual births in the Nacogdoches area, there is a community need for about 8 advanced care nursery beds,” reported Sundell. “Our nursery will fully meet this demand.”
Medical Center has been researching and developing this program for some time. “We began talks with our local obstetricians and pediatricians at least 4 years ago,” Sundell shared. “It takes that long to ensure we have a program that will deliver this service in a patient-focused, safe, consistent manner. At Medical Center, we are determined to provide a high quality level of care, in the right way. This investment shows that commitment, and we are very proud of it. Our clinical team, including nurses, respiratory techs and pharmacists, will spend the next 9 months shadowing expert clinicians in large NICUs in Dallas and Houston. So, by the time the construction is done in early 2016, we’ll have experienced staff ready to take care of our community.”
“Medical Center’s NICU will allow premature babies born locally to remain in Nacogdoches while they mature and develop,” stated Dr. Kim Procell, Pediatric Chair at Medical Center. “Instead of transferring at-risk newborns to Houston or Shreveport, the family unit can remain intact, which will significantly reduce the financial and emotional burden placed on parents during an already stressful time in their lives.”
Infants in the neonatal intensive care unit will receive care tailored to individual needs. Incubators and ventilators designed to reduce the stress of the post birth experience and mimic the nurturing environment of the mother’s womb will be available and utilized as part of the treatment plan. This advanced technology, along with the expertly trained team of specialists and nurses guiding the course of care will impact both the immediate and long-term health of premature babies and other acutely ill infants.
“Everyone looks forward to the birth of a baby as a healthy, joyous event,” stated Melanie Miller, Medical Center’s Director of Women’s Services. “However, in those cases where a newborn is premature or has medical problems, it is reassuring to know that knowledgeable specialists and advanced equipment are on hand at Nacogdoches Medical Center.” She continued, “We will operate a 24/7 neonatal transport team, complete with a transport isolette, so we can serve everyone in our area, not just the babies born at Medical Center. This will truly be a community-wide service.”