Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies opens neonatal intensive care unit

Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies is opening the doors to an expansion of its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The expansion, which adds 30 beds to the hospital's existing 112-bed NICU, will make it the largest NICU in the world under one roof.

"Our NICU is one of the busiest in the country and has been running at or near capacity from the moment we opened our doors," says Kathy Swanson, president of Arnold Palmer Medical Center. "We'll treat more than 1,600 babies in our NICU this year with a wide variety of conditions that require advanced care for weeks or months in some cases. These 30 new beds allow us to more effectively treat those babies with the world-class care our NICU is known for."

Located on the eleventh floor of Winnie Palmer Hospital, the new $13-million unit was funded totally through philanthropic support. It is named the Haley Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in honor of Roy and Dee Haley, a local family that was one of several donors who provided philanthropic support for planning and construction.

The unit will feature 30 level-2 (intermediate care level) NICU beds in an environment designed by architecture firm Page Southerland Page to help enhance family-centered care. It will foster more family bonding time and opportunities for parents to become more comfortable in caring for their baby's medical and developmental needs. Each room in the new unit is private with a fold-down bed to accommodate overnight stays by a family member, and includes a private bathroom and shower among other amenities. Construction of the Haley Family NICU was managed by Robins and Morton.

With the addition of the Haley Family NICU, Winnie Palmer Hospital's Alexander Center for Neonatology, which is named after neonatology pioneer Gregor Alexander, M.D., holds 142 beds. The center is organized to provide highly skilled, life-saving care to critically-ill newborns suffering from prematurity, respiratory distress, cardiac disease, congenital anomalies, multi-system organ failure and other problems. It is one of four NICUs in Florida to offer ECMO (advanced heart-lung bypass technology) to infants and children with acute, severe respiratory or cardiac disease.

"We're seeing more newborns who need the advanced care we can provide in our NICU and this expansion helps us meet that growing need," says David Auerbach, M.D., medical director of the NICU. "More importantly for a family with a preemie, it is comforting to know their baby is in the hands of an expert team with the best clinical outcomes in Florida for low-birth weight babies."

Winnie Palmer Hospital announced the opening of the Haley Family NICU at a mid-morning press conference featuring one of its most notable NICU graduates - three-year-old William McGee - son of Mike McGee and Annika Sorenstam, the most successful female golfer in history.


Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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