Keesler neonatal ICU reclassified as a special care nursery

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Keesler Medical Center has reclassified its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to a Special Care Nursery April 1.
According to Lt. Col. Jeannine Ryder, 81st Inpatient Operations Squadron deputy commander, loss of the NICU is the result of a decrease in admissions and patient population. A Special Care Nursery opened as a unit for infants who are delivered at 35 weeks or more, newborns with respiratory difficulty needing short-term antibiotic therapy and/or additional minor delivery complications. 

"The Special Care Nursery will be manned to assist the Family Birthing Center nursing staff and allow general pediatricians to upgrade their skills in transitioning newborns with complications at delivery," Colonel Ryder explained. 

The two neonatologists presently affiliated with the NICU are expected to be reassigned to other Air Force medical facilities by midsummer. At that time, the Special Care Nursery will close and Keesler Medical Center will no longer provide long-term neonatal intensive care. 

"When the Special Care Nursery closes, all women will have to be over 36 weeks and have an uncomplicated pregnancy to deliver at Keesler Medical Center," Colonel Ryder said. "If a woman comes to the medical center with active pre-term labor or pregnancy complications, she will be transferred to a facility in either Mobile, Ala., or New Orleans. All transfers will be dependent on the condition of the mother and coordinated between the military and civilian providers." 

Colonel Ryder said, "Our facility has working relationships with neonatal intensive care units in both Mobile and New Orleans. A specialized team will come and transport these infants for further care at their facilities." 

If patients have questions or concerns regarding their delivery or care for their infants at delivery, they should talk to their provider.