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Big move for the littlest patients

NICU patients at St. Louis Children's were moved Jan. 27 into newly opened, expanded unit

February 1, 2018

Matt Miller

The patients may be tiny, but moving them to their new, temporary home was big.

On Jan. 27, 41 infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) were moved from the hospital’s longtime NICU space into the expanded NICU area in the newly opened 12-story expansion to SLCH. The setup connects — via skywalk — the older and newer NICU spaces to a labor and delivery floor in the neighboring, newly opened Barnes-Jewish Parkview Tower.

The well-choreographed move involved teams of NICU employees moving babies one at a time — about 10 infants per hour — into their new rooms. Once there, doctors and nurses would make sure a baby was properly situated before moving on to the next tiny patient. Armed with mobile phones, teams only brought infants to their new rooms when they knew other NICU team members were there to meet them.

Matt Miller
The lighting and surroundings in the older neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Louis Children’s Hospital are darker (as seen in the foreground) than in the new NICU space (shown farther back). The older area connects to the newly built and opened NICU area. Staff moved babies into the newer area Jan. 27.
Matt Miller
Staff members move babies Jan. 27 from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Louis Children’s Hospital to the hospital’s newly expanded and opened NICU.
Matt Miller
Joan Downey, MD, (left) an assistant professor of pediatrics, cares for 6-month-old Alijah Abbey after the infant was moved to her new room Jan. 27 in the newly expanded and opened neonatal intensive care unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Matt Miller
Joan Downey, MD, (left) an assistant professor of pediatrics, and Barbara B. Warner, MD, a professor of pediatrics, discuss logistics Jan. 27 as staff members move a baby from the St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) into the hospital’s newly opened NICU space.
Matt Miller
F. Sessions Cole, MD, the Park J. White, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Newborn Medicine at Washington University, gets into the spirit of the St. Louis World’s Fair, a theme chosen to help celebrate the expansion of the St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) into new digs. Staff moved babies Jan. 27 from the older NICU space into the new area.