U of U NICU celebrates 50 years

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Tuesday, September 12, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the neonatal intensive care unit at University of Utah Hospital.

More than 30,000 babies have gone on to live healthy lives thanks to the unit and its staff.

Today, the NICU has 55 beds and transport teams now bring in babies from all over the region by helicopter and airplane, but when it opened in 1968, it had just four beds.

The staff now includes neonatologists, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, social workers, occupational therapists, audiologists, nutritionist, phlebotomists, and of course, countless volunteers. As the unit has gotten bigger the babies they care for have gotten smaller.

“We now can care for babies born at just 23 weeks gestation,” said Mariana Baserga, MD, a neonatologist and medical director of the unit. “Some weigh as little as 400 grams – or just under a pound. They can fit in the palm of your hand.” 

The hospital says the reach of the caring and compassion spreads throughout the valley and hopes it will continue for the next 50 years.

“You trust them to take care of your baby when you’re not there and they do an amazing job,” said Michelle Bach-Harrison, whose daughter Caylin spent two weeks in the NICU. “As a parent, it’s hard to see your kid in the NICU. You walk away feeling like they love your kid as much as you do.”

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