Caring for Vulnerable Babies: The NICU
Nurse manager Angie Baker is busy readying the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She talks about what the NICU is and why Madison needs it.
The mother is referred to the UW Health Maternal-Fetal Medicine High Risk Perinatal Clinic, where a heart defect is confirmed. The parents are counseled by a pediatric cardiologist and neonatologist about the need for a pediatric heart surgeon to correct the defect.
A plan is made to deliver the infant at term in Madison, but early during the eighth month of pregnancy, the baby is born in Janesville by emergency C-section due to maternal hemorrhage. The infant is rushed by our CHETA ambulance to American Family Children’s Hospital for a complex six-hour open heart surgery.
To ensure the very best outcome, babies like this should be treated at a children’s hospital equipped with the most complex level of neonatal care unit possible. Known as a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit – something that currently does not exist at any hospital in southcentral Wisconsin – this service will provide lifesaving care for the most vulnerable newborns.
Accordingly, American Family Children’s Hospital will construct a 14-bed unit of this nature to allow families who need this advanced level of care to be as close to home as possible with their baby. Scheduled to open in early 2014, this NICU will complement – not compete with – other neonatal intensive care units in Madison and throughout the region, making American Family Children’s Hospital a highly specialized regional referral center for the very sickest newborn babies.