An upgrade and expansion at Midland Memorial Hospital could save families a lot of time and money if they have to put a newborn in the neonatal intensive care unit.
The NICU is getting quite the expansion, going from a 10-bed facility to an 18 bed one. That means more space and more opportunity to heal preemie babies.
Ten years ago, MMH had about 150 births a month. Now they are averaging around 250.
“We have needed it so much," said Tonia Wallace, MMH director of women's and children's services. "We’re working in a small space and we max out on our capacity almost daily."
The new space will include five private rooms, three pods of four for socialization, a bonding room where parents will be able to stay overnight night in a queen size bed and an isolation room.
“I am most excited for the ability to have a private space for those babies that need dark, quiet, low stimuli so they can heal," Wallace said. "Once they graduate and need a little stimuli you can put them in the four pods."
Wallace notes they will have places to meet all developmental needs.
The space will transition the NICU into a more advanced treatment center for preemies.
"We'll move from a NICU designation of level two to a level three once we get in our space," Wallace said. "We will be able to take care of babies at all gestational ages not just after 32 weeks."
Less limitations means more NICU babies can be treated locally instead of being transferred to places like Odessa or Lubbock.
“What’s most important to me is that we don’t just get Midland families, we get families from Big Spring, McCamey and all of the surrounding areas," Wallace said. "For us to be able to provide the best quality care for them, that’s what means the most to us."
As construction wraps up, the hospital is looking for more NICU nurses. Currently they have 20, but with the expansion they are looking to add 10 more.
The NICU is planning on opening in mid-March. If you would like to see the facility before then, the hospital will give tours of the facility, that will be open to the public on March 3 at 10 a.m.
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