"There's no place like home" was Dorothy’s line in the “Wizard of Oz” that expressed her understanding that home offers comfort, safety and security.
The new level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Bernards Medical Center will offer that same comfort, safety and security. This new service will allow many families with premature babies to stay close to home and close to their support systems while receiving this highly specialized care for their babies. Neonatologists will combine the resources of St. Bernards Medical Center, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the University of Arkansas School of Medical Sciences into a seamless continuum of care right here at St. Bernards in Jonesboro.
You only need to speak to one family of the hundreds who’ve experienced the emotional and financial upheaval of leaving home, family and jobs to deliver a premature baby or to care for a newborn with special needs.
“Nothing is so exciting and meaningful for a couple as having a baby. However, for those parents nothing can be as horrible as for that newborn to be premature or critically ill. At the present time, these very small and sick newborns have to be transferred to a distant medical center.
"We need a newborn intensive care unit in our area. This would prevent delay in treatment for those seriously ill babies. Plus, it would allow the parents to be an active part in the care of their babies. Nothing could be more needed or meaningful for the future generations of babies born in northeast Arkansas.”
Dr. Charles (Pete) Kemp, Pediatrician, Childrens Clinic
“I believe enhanced NICU care is extremely important for your community. Further, I have been discussing how your hospital and medical staff plan to implement the new nursery, and they are doing this right. Finally, Arkansas Children’s Hospital will be partnering with St. Bernards to ensure excellent neonatal care to match the excellent pediatric care currently provided in your community.”
R Whit Hall, MD, UAMS, Arkansas Childrens Hospital
Trey and Jenna Stafford’s Story
Our first child, Ellie, was born at St. Bernards in 1998. We had a wonderful experience at St. Bernards during her birth.
Our “2nd child” turned out to be triplets! We had hoped to deliver the boys at St. Bernards. However, we were advised by doctors that they most likely would require the services available at a hospital with a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). St. Bernards has a Level 2 now.
For high-risk and preterm pregnancies, access to a Level 3 NICU facility can mean the difference between life and death for these tiny, premature infants. Due to the risks involved with carrying triplets, we drove to Memphis throughout the pregnancy and some heroic efforts by doctors at the Level 3 NICU hospital saved the triplets’ lives. More preterm labor at 29 weeks resulted in a 4-week hospitalization in Memphis leaving Trey, 2-year-old Ellie, and my job back home in Jonesboro.
Treyson (4 pounds 6 ounces), John David (4 pounds 2 ounces), and Chaz (3 pounds 14 ounces) were born on January 23, 2001. John David and Treyson spent a week in the NICU, Chaz spent 2 weeks. Our triplets probably would not have survived without the extraordinary efforts of the highly trained professionals at the hospital with the Level 3 NICU.
We are so fortunate that the Level 3 NICU hospital was able to save our babies, but the experience of delivering them there was extremely difficult. With a job, a 2 year old daughter, a husband, and a household to run back in Jonesboro... it was a very trying time for our family.