Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies expanding NICU - FOX 35 News Orlando

Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies expanding neonatal intensive care unit

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

There is big news for little ones in Central Florida.

Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando is expanding its neonatal intensive care unit, commonly referred to as the NICU.

Over the years, doctors, nurses and staff at Winnie Palmer have delivered and cared for about 40,000 babies. This expansion will help them continue that work in the largest NICU in the world.

"Today, our neonatal unit will increase by 30 beds to 142 total beds," said Kathy Swanson, President of Arnold Palmer Medical Center. "We have 14 world class neonatologists. Because of their dedication and expertise our clinical outcomes in the state of Florida for low birth weight babies are the highest."

"The number of premature births is up all over the country and it's including right here in Central Florida," said Dr. David Auerbach, M.D., Director of Newborn Services at Winnie Palmer Hospital. "The 30 beds we've added in the NICU will allow us to effectively meet the need that we see in this community."

Doctors say it'll help them fulfill the needs of those like golf legend Annika Sorenstam and her husband Mike McGee. Three years ago, her son William McGee was born 13 weeks premature at Winnie Palmer.

"We rushed to the hospital here, Winnie Palmer," said Sorenstam. "We didn't really know what to do. They took care of us from the very beginning."

The expansion that will make the hospital's NICU the largest in the world under one roof.
 
Located on the eleventh floor of Winnie Palmer Hospital, the new $13-million unit was funded totally through philanthropic support.
 
"All of it, every penny came from generous supporters like Roy and Dee Haley," said Zach Kallenbach, Vice President of the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation.

However, the expansion and what it will allow medical professionals to do is priceless to those like Cori Holton.

She brought home her son Wade on Monday night. He was born six weeks premature. He spent several weeks in the NICU at Winnie Palmer.

Dr. Gregor Alexander, M.D. oversaw his care.

"He goes I will watch after your boy and he will be fine," said Holton. "That made me feel a lot better."

Dr. Alexander cared for Wade this month just as he did for Holton back in 1982. She also spent several weeks at the NICU unit at Orlando Regional.

"Dr. Alexander watched her for about six days and took care of the blood infection," said Cindy Griffin, Holton's Mother. "It was just a small little nursery in 1982, but here she is today, a healthy mama herself."

"It's very rewarding," said Dr. Alexander, who is also the Chairman of the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation. "Because it's showing to us that our babies are reaching a normal healthy life."

The wing will open in March.

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