Armon Washington and his fiancée, Janelle, were thrilled to be expecting their first child.
The pregnancy was progressing normally until Janelle started bleeding around 27 weeks.
She was rushed to Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s Emergency Department and quickly transferred to the Regional Perinatal Center where she was treated by perinatologists – OB/GYN physicians who specialize in high-risk pregnancies and fetal complications. There, she was given medication to help stop premature labor. Although treatment helped temporarily, Janelle went into labor a few days later. It was three months before her due date.
“We knew all the what-ifs of premature birth,” explains Armon. “Our doctors had prepared us for the risks — that our baby had a good chance of having severe disabilities. But we were in the best place possible. Everyone was standing by ready to act.”
Specialized Neonatal Care
Less than two hours after Janelle’s labor began, she gave birth to a baby girl, Jaycee, who weighed just 1 pound, 13 ounces. After a quick kiss from her mother, Jaycee was whisked to Jersey Shore’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
“As a level III NICU, we have the expertise and resources to take care of the smallest babies and those in the poorest health,” explains Ilana Torine, D.O., a neonatal-perinatal medicine physician with Jersey Shore. “We care for babies like Jaycee every day.” Led by Dr. Torine, the NICU team of doctors and nurses monitored and provided state-of-the-art care to Jaycee 24 hours a day. For example, Jaycee was given a breathing tube at birth but was able to be weaned off it quickly. And because her intestines were not fully functioning, she was fed through a tube.
A Tough Little Baby
Jaycee’s care progressed smoothly except that her veins were too tiny for the intravenous (IV) lines that could provide her with nutrients and medication. To avoid IV complications, Dr. Torine ordered a central line — or catheter — that is surgically placed in a large vein for long-term use. “Our first priority is the care of the child,” explains Dr. Torine. “Even though this is a procedure we perform regularly, I felt it was in the best interest of Jaycee to have it completed right away.” With careful monitoring and care by
Jersey Shore NICU doctors and nurses, including pediatric pulmonologist Charles Dadzie, M.D., Jaycee grew stronger. She had no infections or other major complications that can be common in premature babies. And computed tomography (CT) scans and other testing showed that Jaycee had no major complications of prematurity.
“Jaycee is a tough little baby,” says Armon, who visited his daughter up to three times a day while she was in the NICU. “She is a fighter. Although there were some scary moments, she overcame them all. It was incredible.”
Giving Kids a Fighting Chance
After nine weeks in Jersey Shore’s NICU, Jaycee was eating and breathing on her own. Her doctors determined she was strong and healthy enough to go home.
Today, Jaycee is a happy, active 1-year-old who loves to play with toys and eat mac and cheese. Her development is checked monthly by Ellen Miele, M.D., a pediatrician affiliated with Jersey Shore, and Jaycee is right on target.
“As a father, I want to be the protector of my little girl,” explains Armon. “When she was born, I was helpless. I completely relied on our doctors and nurses to care for my little one. They make sure every child has a fighting chance.” “We give every little patient and his or her family the same level of special care,” adds Dr. Torine. “We work with the parents to give babies the best start in life, to allow them to live up to their potential.”
At K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, we’re proud to have the most pediatric subspecialists in the region, including dedicated pediatric trauma, emergency, surgical and specialty care. In addition, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital offers dedicated Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units around the clock.
We also reach beyond our walls to work with hospital partners throughout the Hackensack Meridian Health network to ensure that a continuum of care provides families with access to the area’s largest affiliated network of board-certified pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists. Add our role as an academic medical center, and you can be assured that we provide the latest in treatment protocols and research.
Our team of dedicated, compassionate and experienced experts is always looking ahead to the growing needs of our community. We are proud to share several recent accomplishments that advance our mission and make access to comprehensive pediatric services easier than ever before.
Kenneth N. Sable, M.D., MBA, FACEP
Jersey Shore University Medical Center
K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital
Pediatric Sleep Program Serves a Unique Need
Many parents can relate to struggles with their children’s sleep habits. But for some, childhood sleep disorders may be the cause of other problems. In fact, sleep disorders in children may lead to daytime moodiness, irritability, lack of focus in class, sleepiness in school, and behavioral and learning problems. To address this need within the community, Lewis Milrod, M.D., was appointed as the medical director of the new Pediatric Sleep Medicine Program based at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. He brings 20 years of experience to the program and offers a specialized resource to identify and treat sleep conditions in children. This includes sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, narcolepsy and other disorders. We’re excited to provide access to this tremendous resource for local families.
Pediatric PA Program Provides a New Level of Support
As K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital has expanded its pediatric surgical capabilities with expertise in pediatric urology, ENT, orthopedics and neurosurgery, an additional level of support was introduced with a new Physician Assistant (PA) program. A complement of five PAs offer skilled resources for surgeons, assist with pre- and post-operative responsibilities, help triage pediatric cases in the Emergency Department and provide in-house support. This is a tremendous resource to support the growing needs of the medical center and its physicians, as well as help as a critical point of contact for the children and families that we care for.
Expanding Pediatric Emergency Coverage 24/7
To better serve the needs of our youngest community members, Jersey Shore dedicated tremendous resources and planning over the past year to expand the hours of pediatric emergency services to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Families now have access to pediatricians with advanced training and experience in the Emergency Department at all hours of the day and night. As the region’s most comprehensive pediatric program, we’re committed to keeping children healthy by providing the highest quality of care. With a dedicated kid-friendly care environment that is separate from adult patients, children have expanded access to specialized expertise when they need it most.
Expanding Pediatric Subspecialists
As a benefit of the Hackensack Meridian Health merger, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital was able to expand coverage for a variety of subspecialties. Pediatric nephrology and rheumatology coverage, as well as our new affiliation for pediatric hematology/oncology, will help to grow these specialized areas of care. These experts build upon the many pediatric subspecialty services previously available, such as pediatric surgery, urology, orthopedics, neurosurgery, child development, infectious disease, child abuse, sports medicine, cardiology, intensive care, gastroenterology, endocrinology, neurology, pulmonology, and neonatology, as well as the 10-bed PICU with critical care attendings and pediatric hospitalists.