Bring­ing SCV fam­i­lies to­gether

Henry Mayo Ne­whall Hospi­tal’s NICU hosts an­nual cel­e­bra­tion

The Signal - - FRONT PAGE - By Sky­lar Barti Sig­nal Staff Writer

Doc­tors and nurses of Henry Mayo’s Neona­tal In­ten­sive Care Unit, or NICU, re­united with fam­i­lies they’ve cared for at their sixth an­nual cel­e­bra­tion Satur­day at Richard Rioux Park.

The re­union of­fered a va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties for fam­i­lies, in­clud­ing a tod­dler play area, bounce houses and more.

“We ac­tu­ally just had our an­niver­sary. We opened June 4, 2012,” Sherry Za­mu­dio, chair of the NICU re­union, said Satur­day. “To­day, we in­vite all the pre­vi­ous patients, the ba­bies and their

fam­i­lies to come cel­e­brate the fact that they grad­u­ated from our NICU.”

Over 600 peo­ple were in­vited to at­tend the re­union, be­tween NICU grad­u­ates and their fam­i­lies.

Kids who were at­tend­ing ranged in age from 6 years old to 6 weeks old, Za­mu­dio said.

“It’s just to cel­e­brate the fact that th­ese won­der­ful peo­ple have come into our lives and that they are do­ing great,” Za­mu­dio said. “Ev­ery sin­gle per­son here is the rea­son we love work­ing at the NICU. Th­ese fam­i­lies leave an im­pres­sion on our hearts. They re­ally be­come fam­ily. We’re a small com­mu­nity hospi­tal. Ev­ery year they come back to the re­union. It’s like Christ­mas ev­ery year.”

NICU treats se­verely ill or pre­ma­ture new­borns with spe­cial­ized care. Doc­tors and nurses with spe­cial­ized train­ing work day and night at Henry Mayo to give ba­bies who re­quire in­ten­sive care the treat­ment they need to sur­vive, said Sally McGann, di­rec­tor of Women’s Ser­vices at Henry Mayo Ne­whall Hospi­tal.

“The NICU is there for crit­i­cal-care new­borns who need higher-level care,” McGann said. “The ex­pe­ri­ence of neona­tal nurses, neona­tol­o­gist, the neona­tal res­pi­ra­tory ther­a­pist, is a team that comes to high-risk de­liv­er­ies to get them the care they need im­me­di­ately from the in­ten­sive care unit.”

For fam­i­lies that at­tended the re­union it was an op­por­tu­nity to thank the NICU per­son­nel who helped care for their ba­bies who may have had a dif­fi­cult birth.

“This means a lot. It’s heal­ing in the sense of what trauma (our kids) have ex­pe­ri­enced early in their lives,” said Larry and San­dra Me­drano, par­ents whose kids have gone through the NICU. “All the par­ents can come to­gether and share sto­ries.”

The NICU has cre­ated one big in­ter­con­nected fam­ily of patients and care­givers that is built on the shared ex­pe­ri­ence of hard­ship, ac­cord­ing to the Me­dra­nos.

“A big part of it is grat­i­tude, com­ing back and see­ing the peo­ple that ac­tu­ally took care of our kids and then re­mem­ber­ing them af­ter four years and just to con­tinue to say thank you,” Larry Me­drano said. “They re­ally are truly spe­cial in our hearts and in our life.”

Sky­lar Barti/The Sig­nal (See ad­di­tional photos at sig­nalscv.com)

Fam­i­lies wave around bub­ble wands dur­ing Henry Mayo Ne­whall Hospi­tal’s Neona­tal In­ten­sive Care Unit’s sixth an­nual cel­e­bra­tion at Richard Rioux Park on Satur­day.

Sky­lar Barti/The Sig­nal (See ad­di­tional photos at sig­nalscv.com)

Fam­i­lies par­tic­i­pate in ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing Henry Mayo Ne­whall Hospi­tal’s Neona­tal In­ten­sive Care Unit’s sixth an­nual cel­e­bra­tion at Richard Rioux Park on Satur­day.

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