Officials with LewisGale Medical Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony last week to celebrate the opening of its new Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), also called a special care nursery at the facility. The unit opened to patients on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
Encompassing 3,000 square feet, the state-of-the-art NICU features six bassinets with the space to expand as needed. The NICU treats medically-fragile, premature infants and full-term newborns with infections, breathing difficulties, growth restrictions, and maternal health concerns. They will be treated on-site by board-certified neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners 24/7.
“Today’s long-awaited celebration is not only an incredible milestone, but a victory for moms and babies across southwest Virginia,” said Alan Fabian, LewisGale Regional Health System market president. “This underscores our commitment to providing care for our patients, especially women and children throughout their lives. The NICU is yet another example to our dedication to meet the growing needs of our community.”
Construction on the $2.5 million project lasted about a year, LewisGale said. The highly secured area, officials said, features infant security and constant monitoring of babies’ heart rates, respiratory rates, temperature and blood pressure. Radiant warmers, incubators, and open cribs are also featured, as well as assistance in breathing including a ventilator or other oxygenation methods.
“We are excited to welcome a Level II NICU to the hospital’s services and are grateful for the overwhelming support we received from the public, patients, physicians, legislators, and local and state government to make this possible,” said Compton Biddle, Board of Trustees chair. “It’s a beautiful space that allows the hospital to provide the intensive level of care mothers and children in our region deserve.”