Monday, May 11, 2009
People often ask me what is special about my unit... why it has a national reputation, why it is a Level 4 NICCU, why it has two "c"s. The Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit is different than your typical NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) because while we do get preemies (when they are extra small.... weighing less than a kg... the smallest I've seen is less than one pound) we are not a birthing hospital so we really only get babies when they get too sick or their situation is too complicated for the hospital they were born at to handle. We do ECMO which is a heart/lung bypass machine (much like dialysis is for your kidneys) and get super sick babies from all over (as far as Las Vegas) to treat meconium aspirations and pulmonary hypertension. We have some of the top pediatric surgeons in the world so we get a lot of babies born with congenital defects especially of the heart (hypoplastic left heart, double outlet right ventricle, TAPVR) and stomach (necrotizing enterocolitis, gastroschisis, omphalocele). One of the hardest diagnoses for me to handle is that of the rare genetic disorders that are incompatible with life. This a video about a baby boy prenatally diagnosed with Trisomy 18 much like the little baby I admitted recently who was sent to us for a genetic work-up to make the terminal diagnosis of Edward's Syndrome. This is just one of the many challenges I face daily at my job but I absolutely learn something new everyday (usually more like ten new things) and am enjoying the challenge that comes with no twelve hours being the same!