Southeast's Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Pediatric Hospitalist Claudia K. Preuschoff, MD Every expectant parent dreams of a happy, healthy baby. Most of the time, their dreams come true. Nationally, one in 10 newborns requires extra care. For these parents, the experience of a hospital's Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) staff and the level of technology will come into sharp focus.

Southeast Hospital was the first hospital in the region to establish neonatal intensive care services in the late 1970s. Southeast Hospital has Dr. Paul Caruso, M.D. to care for sick newborns. He works closely with Southeast’s Pediatric Hospitalists in providing specialized inpatient care for newborns around the clock.

A clinical affiliation with the nationally-recognized pediatric center formalized a long-standing relationship between Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and Southeast. Through the partnership, physicians and nurses at Southeast are assured access to leading edge approaches in the care of critically ill newborns and children.

Southeast's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit can take care of premature and sick babies.

These babies may have trouble with breathing, eating, infection, blood sugar or body temperature. But it's not just premature babies who require special care. Even seemingly healthy infants can develop infections, experience breathing problems or exhibit other symptoms that require around-the-clock monitoring.

Southeast staffs its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with at least two specially-trained nurses skilled in intubation and resuscitation on each shift. Babies may spend from a couple days to several weeks in the NICU.

NICU staff can provide oxygen therapy, antibiotics, IVs and NG tube feedings. The staff is trained to take care of umbilical vessel catheters, chest tubes, infusions of fluids, blood or lipids; oxygen support such as ventilators, nasal cannulas, CPAP or oxygen hoods; feeding problems requiring special equipment; and monitoring infant heart and respiratory rates or blood pressure and performing exchange transfusions.

Click here to learn more about our partnership with SSM Cardinal Glennon Medical Center

Babies who require specialized ventilator support, are extremely premature, have heart anomalies or require the services of a pediatric surgeon are transferred to St. Louis. Southeast has a long-standing relationship with Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center and St. Louis Children's Hospital, both of which provide specialized neonatal services not available in Southeast Missouri, including pediatric surgery and pediatric cardiology. Many babies who are transferred to St. Louis for complex care return to Southeast for continued care so that their families can become more easily involved as their infants are prepared for discharge.

It's not uncommon for parents to bring back "graduates" of Southeast's NICU to visit with doctors and staff. A bulletin board just inside the nursery is filled with photographs that thankful parents share.

Southeast's Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit have been named in memory of Jesse R. Ramsey, D.O., who was instrumental in the development of the region's first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Southeast Missouri Hospital.

For more information contact our Women and Children's Services Nurse Navigator, Jane Unterreiner.