Source: The News-Enterprise
Jason and Elizabeth Waters know first-hand the benefits of having a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Hardin Memorial Hospital. Their first child, Henry, unexpectedly needed extra care when he was born in 2015.
Henry was born premature with underdeveloped lungs. The family was in a repeat situation last May when their second son, Hudson, was born. Hudson was born May 31, about a month early, and he also had complications.
“His lungs were underdeveloped and the doctors were able to assess him and determine what needs he had and give him the level care that he needed here in town,” Jason said.
With this being her second early delivery, Elizabeth said they knew a little bit more of what to expect.
“We were emotionally ready,” Elizabeth said.
She said she couldn’t have asked for better care for her and Henry. That’s why when it was time for their second child to be born and they knew he likely would need intensive care, she chose to stay at HMH, close to home and her support system.
Hudson, now two-months-old, spent four days in the unit.
Jason, Elizabeth and Hudson were present at the hospital Friday as Kosair Charities awarded the Hardin Memorial Health Foundation a $78,060 gift for the unit, the only Level II NICU in the region.
Also present for the announcement, were leaders of the foundation, hospital, Knights of Columbus 1455 and Riasok Shrine Club.
Kosair Charities President and Elizabethtown native Keith Inman presented the gift.
“This is a great day because I grew up right over the hill,” Inman said. “I drove by HMH. I drove by it every day. … To have the ability to come back today and make this announcement and make this partnership is just outstanding.
“Since 1923, Kosair Charities has had one mission and that is to take care of kids and to make sure kids have a chance and a healthy, safe childhood,’’ he said. “There is no better place for us to invest money than in a NICU. This is a great investment for us to make.”
More than 1,800 babies are born each year in the hospital’s BirthPlace, many of them requiring specialized care the unit now provides, according to a news release. Since the unit became fully operational in 2015, nearly 500 babies have received care.
“It’s the best experience you could have in a tough situation,” Jason said.
The six-bed unit regularly is full and on average, babies stay for nearly four days. Several babies who needed to be born in higher level NICU’s have returned to the hospital, closer to family, to complete their stays.
“If someone were to have a baby early, I would tell them to have the utmost confidence in Hardin Memorial Hospital’s NICU,” Elizabeth said. “There is no need to go anywhere else. No need to travel up the highway.”
The hosptial will use the money to purchase temperature-controlled beds that provide temperature management and monitor oxygen, heart rate and weight. HMH also will purchase new Vapotherm equipment, which helps provide faster and safer respiratory therapy and admission/treatment carts that allow needed equipment to be at the bedside for every delivery.
Kosair, a Louisville-based philanthropic organization, has donated more than $300,000 to the foundation for the NICU since 2015.
“We are so grateful for Kosair Charities’ commitment to Central Kentucky babies and their families,” said foundation Chairman Joe Prather. “In just three short years, with the help of this great organization and many others, we’ve raised nearly $1 million for our region’s most fragile newborns.”