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Patients, caregivers celebrate special bond at Holston Valley's annual NICU reunion

May 1st, 2013 8:45 am by staff report

KINGSPORT — Every day, Holston Valley Medical Center helps some of the tiniest and youngest babies not only survive but also grow into strong and healthy children and young adults.


It’s an achievement worth celebrating.


On Sunday, May 5, graduates from Holston Valley’s neonatal intensive care unit will participate in a special tradition, as they join their former caregivers at the hospital’s annual NICU reunion. Graduates’ families are also invited.


The event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Holston Valley Outpatient Center on the Eastman Outpatient Campus at 103 W. Stone Drive.


A graduate is anyone who has been treated in Holston Valley’s NICU during its 26-year history. During the celebration, visitors can enjoy activities, games, door prizes, desserts and refreshments.


“Nurses, patients and families in the NICU tend to be bonded in a special way,” said Laurie Kaudewitz, Holston Valley’s director of women’s and children’s services. “It goes so far beyond the days, weeks, months they’re in the hospital — we form a lifelong attachment with these babies.


“Nothing is more incredible than catching up with these graduates — some of our patients are in their mid-20s now — and remembering a time when they could quite literally fit in the palm of your hand.”


The NICU has meant so much to Holston Valley that the hospital recently created a calendar that highlights how far these babies have progressed since they received innovative care in the hospital. The first calendar was issued for 2013, and a second one is planned for 2014.


Patients as young as 24 weeks of age — newborns requiring the very highest level of care — have excelled in Holston Valley’s Level III NICU, which has 15 dedicated beds. A specially certified NICU medical team and skilled nursing staff provide essential services to ensure the safety and well-being of newborns, including hearing screenings and other tests for babies prior to leaving the hospital.


The NICU is a beneficiary of Wellmont Health System’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals funds. Wellmont has been the regional affiliate of Children’s Miracle Network since 1987 and uses those funds to buy state-of-the-art equipment for its pediatric and neonatal intensive care programs, fund lifesaving research and support community education programs.


“We are grateful to Children’s Miracle Network for the beneficial assistance it has provided Wellmont for a generation,” said Todd Norris, Wellmont’s senior vice president of system advancement. “Some of the equipment and treatment options we have are a direct result of Children’s Miracle Network, which has helped improve and save the lives of thousands of children over the years.”


To learn more about the NICU reunion, please call (423) 224-6280. Pledges to Children’s Miracle Network can be made at any time by visiting  www.wellmont.org and clicking the link for giving. More information is also available at www.childrensmiraclenetworkhospitals.org.

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