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Oh, Baby! Maria Fareri Children's Hospital to Celebrate 30th Anniversary of Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit


Andy LaGuardia; (914) 493-6532; laguardiaa@wcmc.com
David Billig; (914) 493-8028; billigd@wcmc.com

Valhalla, New York – Twins, triplets and preemies, oh my!  Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center - the children’s hospital for the Hudson Valley and Fairfield County – will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its Isaac and Naomi Kaplan Family Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) with a special reunion September 20 open to RNICU graduates of all ages.  Hundreds of RNICU graduates, their parents, friends and family members along with past and current RNICU staff members are expected at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital for the celebration.  The event will include food, games, music and other fun activities.

Caring for the Most Fragile Patients
The fact that many of these graduates can return to the hospital for such a special occasion is remarkable in itself. The RNICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital retains New York State’s highest designation (Level IV) for regionalized neonatal care and is the only unit in from New York City to Albany, as well as Fairfiled County, Connecticut, with this designation.  As such, each day community hospitals across the region transfer their most severe and complex cases to the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s RNICU for advanced care. The RNICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital cares for babies suffering from life-threatening complications associated with extreme prematurity as well as full-term babies with cardiac, neurological, pulmonary and other birth defects.

“We care for the region’s tiniest and sickest newborns and are among the top two hospitals in New York State in terms of case severity,” explained Edmund LaGamma, M.D., Chief, Newborn Medicine, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center.  “Despite this case severity, our outcomes are among the best in the nation.”

30 Years of Excellence
The Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) was established at Westchester Medical Center in 1982 with 20 beds.  The unit grew to become the regional resource for advanced neonatal intensive care and today, the RNICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital regularly cares for over 50 newborns daily.  More than 25 neonatologists, experts in the care of critically ill newborns, work at the RNICU or partner with community hospitals network on advanced neonatal care.  At Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, these experts employ treatments and medical services utilized nowhere else in the region, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (a heart-lung bypass procedure), Cool-Cap™ for asphyxiated newborns and just about every form of ventilatory support available. The unit’s broad range of collaborating pediatric sub-specialists, cardiac and surgical teams, along with a New York State-designated Metabolic Disease Center, make the RNICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital a one stop destination for every level of newborn medical need.

“The celebration surrounding this 30th anniversary is two-fold,” remarked Dr. LaGamma. “First, it is a celebration of the success of the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the dedicated clinical staff that saves the lives of  newborns each and every day. Secondly, and more significantly, it is also a celebration of the individual lives and triumphs of these amazing RNICU graduates and their families.”

RNICU Facts:

  • Since opening, the RNICU at Westchester Medical Center has cared for over 20,000 newborns.
  • The smallest weight of newborns cared for at the RNICU can be less than 1 pound with some babies born before the 24th week of pregnancy (less than 6 months). 
  • The RNICU draws from a catchment area of 23,000 births at its affiliate hospitals and admits a subset of about 700 newborns that are sick, small, surgical, chromosomal, or biochemical disorders of those newborns each year.
  • Clinicians of the RNICU are thought leaders, publishing over 25 peer-reviewed publications annually. 
  • Its academic program is the fourth largest fellowship training program in the country.

About Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center
Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center is the children’s hospital for New York’s Hudson Valley region and Fairfield County, Connecticut. As home to the area’s only pediatric intensive care unit, pediatric transplant program, burn center, cardiac catheterization program and its regional neonatal intensive care unit, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital cares for the area’s most seriously ill and injured kids.

A regional and national leader in children’s healthcare, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center was designed from the point of view of patients and families as well as doctors and nurses.  In addition the hospital operates under the family-centered care philosophy, which encourages moms, dads, brothers and sisters to be involved in the care process.  These factors result in a special healing environment that puts children and parents at ease so the whole family feels better.


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