Children’s Mercy NICU and Fetal Health Center



Children’s Mercy NICU and Fetal Health Center

I am fortunate both of my pregnancies and deliveries with my girls went, for the most part, smoothly. Many parents in Kansas City aren’t as fortunate and may find themselves in need of critical care for their infant. That can be a scary situation. Luckily, we have Children’s Mercy, not only to help when Baby is born with issues needing attention, but also for when issues are known prior to Baby’s birth. Did you know Children’s Mercy delivers babies? I had no idea but recently learned about that program and also got to take a tour of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Children’s Mercy is the area’s only Level IV NICU, which means they are able to provide the highest level, most acute care to the tiniest of patients. With 80 beds, they have the capacity to care for many kiddos. On my tour, each and every bed was taken. Clearly, all those beds are so needed! Other highlights of the program include:

Having 400 pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists on staff to diagnose and care for your baby, including 25 neonatologists with a wide variety of clinical and research interests.

The transport program is one of the most advanced in the region, with one twin-propeller plane, one helicopter and nine ambulances. I’ve ridden in one of the ambulances (to tour, not with a patient), and it’s very impressive. Each and every part of the ambulance is designed with kids in mind.

Families receive support from social workers, nutrition specialists, a lactation team, respiratory technicians and pharmacists—such important services. My younger brother spent a lot of time in the ICU/hospital as a young child in the early 1970s. As a child, I never was allowed to visit him in the hospital. My heart warmed when I saw all of the siblings in the NICU at Children’s Mercy. They have special playrooms and toys for the brothers and sisters to help them feel a part of it all, which is so important!

Often, it isn’t until a Baby is born that doctors discover the infant needs critical care. But, in some cases, doctors can determine in utero that Baby will need care right after delivery. In order to get these babies care immediately and to eliminate the time Baby spends away from Mom, the Fetal Heath Center provides special care delivery. Mothers and newborns receive the most advanced care, including direct access to specialized neonatal services. The rooms are set up so mothers and family members can stay close to their newborns, even as intensive services are being administered. During my tour, I learned that one year, Children’s Mercy delivered the first baby of the New Year. Press and public alike were confounded, as many didn’t realize Children’s Mercy even offered this service!

While I wish nothing but healthy pregnancies and smooth deliveries for all moms, I know that isn’t possible. How lucky we are to have Children’s Mercy to take care of our babies!

 

For more information on the NICU at Children’s Mercy or the Fetal Health Center, visit ChildrensMercy.org.

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