New Neonatal ICU Unit In Longview - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/31/03 - Longview

New Neonatal ICU Unit In Longview

There are hundreds of babies born in East Texas every year needing special medical attention. In the past, most of those newborns have had to be taken to Dallas or Shreveport for care.

But now, a new intensive care unit for infants has opened its doors in East Texas.

At 4 lbs 10 oz, baby Ashton has come a long way since his birth. Mom, Nicole, was having a normal pregnancy until she reached 28 weeks. "I has having pains and came in and I was dialated to a five," says Nicole.

Despite efforts to stop labor, Ashton was born weighing just more than two pounds. It made him a prime candidate for the new ICU.

"These are our isolators that we'll put our preemie in," says nurse Stephanie Capt.

The new 3,000 square foot facility houses state of the art equipment. "They stay in these until they weigh about four pounds because a lot of our babies get here and they weigh two and a half pounds to two pounds," says Stephanie. The isolators control a preemies environment because they are more sensitive to light and noise.

"This is our new transport incubator. This is the equipment that will use when we got to one of the smaller hospitals. And pick up babies to bring back here. It is on the cutting edge of technology. We are one of the first ones in east Texas with it. I think Medical City has one on order," says Stephanie.

It's state of the art care without having to drive to Dallas or Shreveport, which is comforting to Nicole. "We just moved here from Illinois in August so he was going to go to Shreveport or Dallas so that's hard and confusing to not even know where you're going and your child to be so far away. It's really convenient. We're 10 minutes from here," says Nicole.

Baby Ashton will soon be strong enough to go home.

The new unit houses seven beds. It cost approximately $1 million in renovations and equipment and provides specialized care to premature babies 28 weeks and older. The new clinic will also care for full term babies with special needs.

Amy Tatum, reporting.

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