Hundreds of families came out to thank the doctors and nurses who gave their babies a second chance at Memorial Hospital’s 27th annual Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Graduate Reunion Saturday.
“These kids are super heroes,” Andrea Beard said. “I mean the fact that they’re alive today and doing so well is just a testament to the hospital and all the nurse and doctors and the respiratory technicians that are in there with the kids every day.”
Beard gave birth to her second child at just 25 weeks. While in the NICU her baby died.
Beard was back again with her third child, Matthew, also born at 25 weeks, where they spent three month. Now, at 3 years old, Matthew is thriving because of the doctors and nurses that saved his life.
“It’s so special to come back and give back to them and say thank you,” Beard said. “And for them to see how all of their hard work that they do day-in and day-out, really just how it affects the kids, and how if it wasn’t for them and everything that they did then our babies wouldn’t be where they are today.”
The NICU helps 400 families a year, caring for premature babies until they are healthy enough to graduate and go home, according to NICU medical director Dr. Madhu Bhogal
“This is the best day of my whole entire year because we get to see all these little babies that struggled so much in the unit and now they are happy healthy and playing around,” Dr. Bhogal said.
The NICU has been opened for more than 30 years and the staff said they look forward to the reunion every year.