Fox 4: NICU at Children's Mercy expands to meet the needs of newborns and their families
One thousand of the very sickest and tiniest newborns in our region receive care each year at Children's Mercy. Their stays range from a few days to a year or more. Now the neonatal intensive care unit is expanding to meet the need for that care.
Last month, Ty and Amy Roberts from Bartlesville, OK became parents for the tenth time. For the first time, they have a baby who needs intensive care. She was born with abnormalities of the jaw and mouth and needed surgery so she could breathe.
"I say this from the beginning that Mercy has been shown a lot of mercy from the get-go," Ty Roberts said.
Yes, the baby they'd named Mercy is a patient at Children's Mercy. They say she's where she needs to be even though the neonatal intensive care unit is crowded.
"It's almost like a potential trip hazard with the nurses or other staff. It's great to have a chair, but everybody's constantly having to move around that," Roberts said.
"Many times we get to our maximum census and we have to maybe have babies wait to come here," said Dr. Eugenia Pallotto, a neonatologist.
Now the NICU is gaining space. Twenty-four new beds will bring the total to 84. The expansion includes larger areas for each baby and family and even some beds for parents.
"It'd be nice to just open your eyes and see 'em and be there," Roberts said.
There's space for surgeries.
"If the patients are very unstable and difficult to transplant say to the operating room, so there's some focused procedures we'll be able to do up here," Dr. Pallotto said.
There's also a larger waiting area for families, a playroom just for siblings and a room where moms can bring their breast milk for preparation and storage.
Work is almost complete. Babies are expected to be moved in the week after Thanksgiving. Mercy's parents hope by then, she'll be home from Children's Mercy.
Many metro hospitals have NICUs. Children's Mercy is the only level four NICU. That means it has specialists that can provide the most complex surgical and medical care for newborns.
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Learn more about the NICU at Children's Mercy.