|More than 200 guests, including Bridgeport Hospital Newborn Intensive Care Unit alumni and their family members, attended the unit’s annual reunion celebration May 15 in the hospital lobby.|
The event gives the families and unit staff a chance to reconnect and check on the progress of premature and critically ill infants once cared for at the hospital. Newborn ICU Medical Director Robert Herzlinger, MD, Associate Director Cheryl Menzies, MD, Nurse Manager Julie Brown and other unit staff were on hand to welcome back former patients and their families. Refreshments and a shadow-puppet show were also part of the reunion.
“I was very scared when my son was in the unit,” recalls Dawn Boulton of Trumbull. “I remember how reassuring and supportive the doctors, nurses and other staff members were.”
Dawn’s son, Clint, weighed just two pounds, five ounces at birth. Now 14 months old, he’s a healthy toddler.
“The staff was great—so caring and supportive,” says Lisa Koetsch of Ansonia, whose daughter Taryn was one pound, 13 ounces when she was born 20 months ago. Taryn is almost 20 pounds now, has just started walking and—Lisa says proudly—said “Grandma” for the first time a few days before the reunion.
“The annual reunion helps validate everything we do to make these tiny babies well enough to go home with their families,” says Dr. Robert Herzlinger, medical director of the Newborn ICU. “It also recognizes parents for the important role they continue to play in their children’s growth and development.”
Established in 1973, the Bridgeport Hospital Newborn ICU provides the most comprehensive care level of care to premature and critically ill newborns available in Fairfield County. In addition to a team of skilled physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other health professionals for in-hospital care, the unit also offers a unique Follow-Up Program, which identifies and addresses infants’ developmental issues as they grow.
“This is our favorite event of the year,” says Newborn ICU Nurse Manager Julie Brown. “We haven’t seen most of these babies for months and the last time we did, they were smaller and more fragile. It gives us a wonderful feeling to see how well they’ve progressed.”