The neonatal intensive care unit, called the NICU for short, is part of a hospital that has specialized medical professionals and equipment to care for premature and ill newborn babies who need a high level of medical care. The staff in the NICU are highly trained in the treatment and care of newborns and the use of advanced life support equipment designed for small babies.
All hospitals do not have a neonatal intensive care unit. So, if your newborn needs that type of specialized medical care, you may have to go to a different maternity hospital.
A newborn baby may need treatment in a NICU for numerous reasons. Some of the most common reasons include:
Newborns who need intensive care are typically sent to the NICU within the first 24 hours after they are born. The duration of the stay depends on the specific situation. The medical team will discuss with you how long they expect your newborn to be there.
You may feel overwhelmed when you see your baby in the NICU for the first time. It’s a highly specialized area with a lot of equipment. Learning how the neonatal intensive care unit works may provide some level of comfort so you’re better able to concentrate on your newborn.
Most NICUs keep multiple babies in a single, open room. In the room, healthcare providers are constantly coming and going to look after these fragile newborns. New parents typically have limited access because there is an increased risk of infection for delicate babies. As a result, when you enter the NICU, you will be required to wash and sanitize your hands, and some units require you to wear hospital gowns, gloves, and a mask.
In the NICU, staff generally tries to keep stimulation to a minimum to allow babies to sleep, as it is during sleep that they grow and heal. That means there is often reduced sound and light in the room, and when babies are awake, they are handled minimally to help promote a quiet and organized state and to be able to go back to sleep as soon as possible.
Many parents are alarmed by all the equipment in the NICU, even though it is used to help their babies get well. Some of the machines and equipment you may encounter in the neonatal intensive care unit include:
Unfortunately, medical negligence and mistakes are made in the NICU, just as in other medical settings. It may seem like medical malpractice should be rare in the neonatal intensive care unit because the nurses there are assigned far fewer patients to care for than in other parts of the hospital. In fact, sometimes, a baby in the NICU may have a dedicated nurse. However, that doesn’t mean that mistakes don’t happen.
In the NICU, errors happen in numerous ways, including:
Medical malpractice is dangerous for anyone it affects. However, it is especially dangerous for premature or sick babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. They are so small and delicate that even a small mistake or deviation in care can cause birth injuries or wrongful death.
The law office of Ross Feller Casey is here to help parents of babies who suffered harm while being cared for in the NICU in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Our lawyers are experienced with these types of cases, and we have a team of leading physicians on staff who are experts in medical treatments and procedures. They review medical records and determine whether medical malpractice is to blame.
If your baby suffered injuries as the result of medical malpractice while in a Pennsylvania neonatal intensive care unit, contact Ross Feller Casey today. We are here to help parents like you with the financial and emotional burdens your family carries due to your baby’s injuries.
We handle all of our cases, including those involving NICU malpractice, on a contingency basis, so you will not have to pay a thing until a financial recovery is made in your case.
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