Kansas City Hospital Emblematic of Advances in Neonatal Intensive Care Units
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It's only been five years since the American Academy of Pediatrics created the level four designation of neonatal intensive care units.
Known as NICUs, they are facilities that treat the smallest and most critically ill babies.
Neonatology has only been recognized as a profession since 1960. But Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City – the only level four NICU in the region – is demonstrating how much can be accomplished when a band of specialists with a passion for treating newborns is brought together.
Children's Mercy Director of Neonatology, Dr. Howard Kilbride, says premature birth was, for many years, the single biggest threat to babies.
"That, no longer, is the primary cause of death in babies that we're seeing,” he states. It's close, but congenital anomalies or birth differences make up probably the leading cause of neonatal deaths now for us. "
Research shows a 2.2-pound baby born in 1960 had a mortality risk of 95 percent. Today the probability of survival for that same 1 kilogram newborn is 95 percent.
Kilbride says his hospital’s NICU has 80 beds and 300 bedside nurses who are specialized in caring for infants.
In his five-plus decades of work as a neonatologist, Kilbride acknowledges he's experienced lots of emotional highs and lows with his patients and their families.
"I am just always in awe at the resilience of the families that we deal with and the ability to be able to cope," he states.
The creation of a regionalized approach to the most specialized NICUs occurred in the 1970s.
Kilbride says the nearly 50-year-old strategy has worked extremely well because it puts a vast array of resources under one roof to deal with problems that, while rare, have to be taken very seriously.
Kilbride notes that the psychosocial focus of level four NICUs is also vital. A team of social workers and counselors is always available to help families cope while their newborn is in the hospital's care.
get more stories like this via email
North Dakota's farming landscape is seeing policy shifts dealing with corporate ownership of agricultural interests. Now, there's fresh debate at the …
Advocates for unpaid family caregivers in Maine say they'll need continued support beyond the recently passed paid family and medical leave program…
The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida are filing lawsuits against the deacti…
A new report from WGU Labs, a nonprofit affiliate of Western Governors University based in Millcreek, Utah, is shedding light on the importance of …
Many older residents of Washington state are facing strains on their budgets -- and the government programs that could assist them are underused…
Bloomington and Indianapolis are getting some international recognition for the work they're doing to help the environment. The two have been named …
Health and Wellness
New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment …
Bipartisan legislation that proposes the installation of solar panels in schools across Pennsylvania awaits a vote in the state Senate. The Solar …