The Holidays inside our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
This week I was up in our Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). The holiday decorations are up but unfortunately the units are full. More than 100 babies born too soon or battling critical medical issues. I am always amazed by how tiny and fragile they seem, many weighing in at just around one pound. Their tiny bodies would fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. The lights are dim and there is not a lot of noise – that’s purposeful – every detail of the unit has been designed to help these tiny babies heal and grow. Nationwide Children’s is a national expert in taking care of the most premature of babies. In fact we developed and continue to refine treatment guidelines that are being adopted by NICU’s across the country.
Dozens of physicians and staff move throughout the unit, often with a team caring for one critically ill baby. Dr. Kris Reber is one of the leading physicians in our NICU. She is kind, confident and completely in charge when it comes to her tiny patients. She is also a researcher specializing in Necrotizing Enterocolitis, one of the most devastating conditions of prematurity. She splits her time between the unit and her lab. Dr. Reber has spent many holidays here in the NICU at Nationwide Children’s and she sat down with us to talk about what it’s like to have a child in intensive care over the holidays.