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Cook Children’s Opens Country’s Biggest NICU

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A Fort Worth hospital is now home to the largest all-private room Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the nation.  Nearly 50 critical care babies were moved into the new NICU at Cook Children’s Medical Center Tuesday.

Sophie Norman is one of them.  She has been in the hospital for a month already.  The little girl was six weeks premature and had a birth defect called Gastroschisis.  “It was an opening on the right side of her tummy and her intestines were coming out,” said her mother Alyssa Sorsdahl.

For Sorsdahl and her husband Trey Norman, leaving their first child every night wasn’t easy, but then again, neither was staying at the hospital’s old NICU.  “You’re just cramped in there, people are running around, every baby is crying.” Sorsdahl said.

But that has all changed. In the hospital’s new NICU each family has its own private room.

“There’s been a big shift in the country toward family-centered care because every baby comes with a set of parents,” said NICU Nursing Director Barbara Greer. “Studies have shown babies that are in a room like this where the individual light and sound can be controlled have better long-term outcomes.”

The $51 million facility has 99 rooms and 106 beds.  Several rooms are large enough to accommodate multiple babies for those families who have twins, triplets, or even quadruplets.

The rooms span over two floors, and 71 thousand square feet, more than twice the size of the old unit.  One of the biggest benefits to the new unit isn’t necessarily for the baby but for the parents, who will no longer have to leave their child’s side to sleep.

In the old unit there were no beds for parents to stay the night, but in the new facilities private rooms there is a sofa bed and a recliner.  “To be able to stay with that baby will mean the world to them,” Greer said.

“It’s going to make a big difference in that aspect as far as peace of mind,” said Sophie’s father Trey Norman. “With all the running around I do at work it is nice to come here and relax a little bit more and have alone time with family.”

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