New neonatal care facility opens in Tyler - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


New neonatal care facility opens in Tyler

Each year, more than 3,000 babies are delivered at Mother Frances and of those, hundreds require transportation to other facilities for care. Today, KLTV 7's Danielle Capper toured the new Level 3 facility, which means babies born as early as 28 weeks can receive care and benefit many East Texas families.

"What you see on the walls...absorbs sound," said Linda Doyle, RN. The state of the art facility will feature two neonatolgists, a full support staff, and the equipment to care for the smallest and sickest East Texans.

"I just moved from California. I came soley for this purpose," said neonatologist Nancy Pusser, MD. "I was very excited about coming. I was very excited about the individual rooms, about the state of the art equipment."

With 12 individual suites, they now can keep newborns that are born as early as 28 weeks or weigh 2.2 pounds, something they say will eliminate sending hundreds of babies elsewhere.

"Their lungs are still not like everyone else's, but they are doing really well," said Dana Hughey.

Many of you know that KLTV 7's own Dana Hughey spent a lot of the last year in an NICU. In November, Dana, at 19 weeks pregnant, was put on bedrest, and at 25 weeks she delivered little Ford and Hayden.

"He was 1 pound 15 oz, and he was 1 lb 14 oz and he's about 16 lbs now and he's just right behind him. They have grown so much," said Dana.

We wanted to get her take on what this kind of facility can offer East Texas mothers.

"We spent five months in the NICU. Five months away from home. And that's hard - that's hard on your job, that's hard on a family," said Dana. "You just have to look at Ford and Hayden to look at what a neonatal unit can do."

The boys have come a long way. At birth, doctors said they had a 30% chance of survival. For months the NICU was all the Hugheys knew. They rented an apartment in Ft. Worth so they could be with their children.

"If I could sum it up in one word, what a NICU means to me is hope. It is hope for your little babies," said Dana. "It was hope for us. It was hope for us everyday when we would go in that they could make it. It's technology that allows babies to be and allows people to become families."

Now the new neonatal unit in Tyler will offer local mothers a closer, more convenient option - a new place for hope.

The facility was made possible through grants, foundations and many other private donors - in all, $1.8 million was raised, exceeding their goal.

Danielle Capper, reporting.

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