New Neonatal Unit Planned For East Texas Patients - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


New Neonatal Unit Planned For East Texas Patients

Abby Izard is a very playful one year old.  It's hard to imagine she was born premature.

Mom, Holly, when into labor four weeks before her due date.

"[The doctors] kept trying to keep me positive that everything would probably be fine but in the back of my mind I just had a scary thought that there might be problem and sure enough there was," Holly recalls. 

Abby had breathing complications.  The type of care she needed could only be provided at a neonatal intensive care unit.

Doctors at Mother Frances Hospital would have Abby transported to a unit 120 miles away in Dallas.

"I had at the time a 2-year-old son at home and he didn't understand what was going on, why mommy was gone, why daddy was coming and going. And it was a very complicated, confusing, heartbreaking time," says Holly.

Dr. Tom Hargrove says the emotional and physical strain on new mothers and their families are the reason why having a neonatal unit in Tyler is long overdue.

"When a mother has just delivered a baby, many times they had a cesarian section so the ability to travel all of a sudden and care for a sick infant in a hospital is limited," says Dr. Hargrove. 

"It's probably one of the most expensive things a hospital can do. But our hospital is a faith-based hospital and we're most interested in meeting a need in the community," says "New Lives" NICU Campaign Honorary Chairman Mary Dale Thomas.

In about a year, that need will be available to East Texas mothers once the unit is complete.

Holly says with that kind of local care, future mothers should be assured their premature babies will be in good hands.

"To be able to stay at home where you can go see your family at night and still take care of your baby and make sure everything is fine, it would just make a world of difference!," says Holly.

The NICU unit is slated to open in 12 months.

The new baby section of the hospital will be renovated to house it. And the hospital is working to raise 1.3 million dollars for this campaign.

To learn more about the campaign, click here.

Christine Nelson reporting.


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