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- Early PioneersMuch has changed since 1962, when CHOP opened the nation’s first surgical N/IICU in what-was-then Children’s Hospital (at 18th and Bainbridge streets) and began pioneering treatment for the youngest patients.
- Leaders TodayCHOP’s Division of Neonatology has consistently ranked among the best in the nation. More than 80 hospitals send their sickest babies to our N/IICU for coordinated treatment from our multidisciplinary team of experts.
- N/IICU Origins (1960s) CHOP Surgeon-in-Chief C. Everett Koop, MD, opened the one-room, 12-bed N/IICU at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 1962. Here, he is pictured consulting with nurses around a baby’s incubator.
- Life in the N/IICU (2012) Today, CHOP’s N/IICU is made up of three specialized units which encompass almost the entire second floor of the Hospital. With 95 licensed beds, our N/IICU treats about 1,200 infants each year.
- N/IICU Care (1960s)Caring for critically ill newborns has always been a delicate balancing act. The machines, ventilators, food and nutrition that deliver lifesaving treatment can also harm a baby’s fragile body systems. Clinicians strive to deliver just the right treatment for each child.
- High-Tech Care (2012)More than 35 attending physicians, 307 nurses and 63 other staff members care for babies in CHOP’s N/IICU. Together, they deliver care using a range of lifesaving technologies that were unimaginable 50 years ago.
- Transporting Patients (1960s)Hospitals in the Philadelphia area have been transferring their sickest infants to CHOP’s N/IICU for decades. Most were transported by ambulance.
- Neonatal Transport (2012)Every minute is critical for newborns and infants who are critically ill. To transfer them more quickly — and from a greater distance — CHOP uses a specialized neonatal transport team to transfer young patients here for lifesaving treatment and monitoring.
- Treating Sick Babies (1970s)CHOP’s N/IICU has been treating the sickest babies since it opened. Many of the babies were born prematurely or had rare disorders or congenital anomalies. CHOP offered hope to families and saved thousands of lives.
- Today’s Patients (2012)As technology and treatment modalities have improved, CHOP’s N/IICU has been able to expand the number and types of patients it treats. Today, babies born as young as 22 weeks gestation — about half the time of a typical pregnancy — can survive and thrive because of the cutting-edge treatment available in our N/IICU.
- Seamless CareClinicians in the N/IICU collaborate with the Hospital’s internationally recognized programs such as the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, the Cardiac Center and Cancer Treatment Center.
- Integrated Care Before Birth About 15 percent of our N/IICU babies were born in CHOP’s Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit, the nation’s first birthing unit for moms carrying babies with known birth defects. The N/IICU provides specialized care for babies who may have had fetal surgery and those who need immediate care and treatment after birth.
- Family-Centered CarePatient care has evolved in the past 50 years to empower families to be a greater part of their baby’s care team. Families are encouraged to ask questions, to participate in care planning and stay with their hospitalized child as much as they want.
- Our ExpertisePatients in the N/IICU are cared for by board-certified neonatologists and Magnet-accredited nurses who are constantly working to improve care for the young patients they serve. The nurse-to-patient ratio in the N/IICU is 1-to-2 or 1-to-1, ensuring there is always a watchful eye on each infant’s health.
- Centers of ExcellenceThe Division of Neonatology has created specialty programs to meet specific patient needs — such as airway disorders, chronic lung disease and stroke — that were identified in the N/IICU. Today, N/IICU staff collaborate regularly with staff from Pulmonary Medicine; Otolaryngology; Rehabilitation; General, Thoracic and Fetal Surgery; and others.
- Our ResearchMany of the N/IICU’s physicians, including Division Chief Phyllis Dennery, MD, (pictured) are also researchers, studying areas such as the long-term consequences of being born premature, less-damaging ways to deliver oxygen and the effect of light on neonates.
- Our ReachOver the decades, CHOP’s expert neonatologists have branched out to other local hospitals. CHOP Newborn Care runs the intensive care nurseries at 12 hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Hospital also offers follow-up care at CHOP’s Main Campus, CHOP satellite offices and CHOP partner hospitals.
- Looking to the FutureNeonatology staff at CHOP will continue to explore new treatments, techniques and research that could help our sickest babies. Though our tools continue to evolve, our goal in CHOP’s N/IICU remains the same as it was in 1962 — offering hope and healing to children.
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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Harriet and Ronald Lassin Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU) at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Join us in a reflection of times past, and our vision of a bright future for all babies.