NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - East Texas newborns who come into the world early or with complications need immediate, specialized care. Transferring them off to big city hospitals has been the norm, but thanks to improvements in neonatal intensive care units, more babies are treated here at home.
Nacogdoches Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, commonly referred to as a NICU, has an entire team of well trained, specialized staff.
Registered nurse Britney Cranford may be the one who best connects to moms of premature babies. She too had a baby born weeks early.
"I was a Level 1 nursery nurse. I was a well child nursery nurse and it was still the scariest thing that's ever happened to me," Cranford said.
Britney prearranged her high risk delivery to happen at a Shreveport NICU. Once the majority of premature babies were transferred via helicopter or ambulance.
A Nacogdoches pediatrician says those trips are no longer needed thanks to Medical Center's Level II NICU.
"It was slow in coming, but we did it right. We followed the guidelines of the AAP, the American Academy of Pediatrics," said Dr. Modupe Sokinbi, a pediatrician. "We have a dedicated neonatologist whose going to be here 24/7, working with highly skilled, specially trained nurses and staff."
State-of-the-art equipment includes a bed that's like a womb on the outside.
"This provides a stabilization for their warmth and to maintain their body temperature, and also, we'll provide oxygen support, ventilator support," said Melanie Miller., the director of women's services and the NICU.
There's equipment to feed a baby intravenously and another piece of equipment to treat jaundiced babies. The multi-disciplinary team promises to use family-centered approach to treatment, right down to a bonding bed where mom can cradle her baby.
"Because that's what this is about," said Rachel Weaver, a registered nurse. "We would like them to have a great bonding experience. The first 24 hours is very important."
And if things still get rough, Britney will help out.
"Let 'em know I've been through this personally and I know the emotional roller coaster," she said.
After all, the most stressful event around is best handled at home.
Nacogdoches Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will open on this coming Wednesday.