SPRINGFIELD, Pa. – Representatives from the March of Dimes recently visited Maternal/Child Health staffs at Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Delaware County Memorial to recognize their dedication to prematurity awareness. Every day, physicians, nurses and other hospital support staff fight to save the lives of infants born too early. The March of Dimes presented plaques to staff and administrators from each site as part the organization’s annual “Day of Gratitude.”
DCMH’s visit was made even more special by the presence of “Ambassador Dad” Mike Gillespie of Philadelphia. A father of four girls, Gillespie’s oldest daughter, Madeline, 14, was born at 24 weeks’ gestation weighing only 1 pound, 3 ounces. “She was so tiny,” Gillespie says. “Her eyes were shut. Her skin was translucent – you could see right through it – and her diaper was smaller than the size of a business card.”
Madeline spent 10½ weeks in the NICU at a city hospital, and things were touch-and-go for the entire time; she was on a ventilator during her entire hospital stay. But Gillespie and his wife, Jen, would visit their tiny daughter every day. Despite being prepared for the worst – doctors said their daughter could experience developmental delays or have conditions ranging from autism to cerebral palsy to blindness – today Madeline is a healthy teenager who recently graduated 8th grade and performs with the Mummers.
“Our staffs give their all for each and every premature infant,” says Ken Molczan, nurse director of the Intensive Care Nursery at Crozer. “They are passionate about caring for these infants, but also believe in educating parents and caregivers so that once we’ve discharged their babies home they continue to thrive in the best environment possible.”
Education is paramount at DCMH as well. Rose Amato, R.N.C.-OB, B.S.N., MHA, nurse director of the Maternal/Child Health Unit at DCMH, notes that premature babies have a higher risk for conditions such as asthma, developmental delays, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. “Our NICUs are fully equipped to care for virtually all critically ill premature infants,” she says, “and we are just as dedicated to their parents. Lives are turned upside-down when a baby is born too early, so we want moms and dads to know that we are there for them as well as their tiny miracles.”
“It’s an honor to once again be recognized by the March of Dimes,” Molczan says. “We are grateful for their support.”
Both Crozer and DCMH’s neonatal intensive care units are state-certified and staffed by a highly skilled team that includes neonatologists, nurses, and a support team of pediatricians, respiratory therapists and social workers. The maternity centers deliver more than 2,500 babies each year, offer quiet and comfortable surroundings and the latest technology to provide optimal care to parents and their babies. To learn more about maternity services at Crozer-Keystone visit crozerkeystone.org/Maternity.
The March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
Photo Caption: Pictured are March of Dimes Ambassador Dad Mike Gillespie with staff of the DCMH Maternal/Child Health Unit and administrators (back row) Robert Haffey, president of DCMH, and Kathy Manuel, director of Nursing.
Director, Public Relations and Marketing | Delaware County Memorial Hospital & Taylor Hospital