St. Mary Medical Center nurses celebrated the 20th anniversary of the NICU on Oct. 24 with the Precious Pumpkins Picnic, a reunion with many former patients and their families.
More than 200 nurses, healthcare professionals, former patients, and family members attended the event at Core Creek Park in Langhorne, Pa.
It [was] a great day for the children … and for all of us to reflect on how far theyve come since their time in the St. Mary NICU, said Marie Schickler, RN, the NICUs director of nursing/maternal-child health.
Since opening in 1989, the St. Mary NICU has taken care of more than 1,800 babies in need of intensive therapies.Annisha Zegarski helps daughter, Sunny, who spent 58 days in the St. Mary NICU after her premature birth, paint a pumpkin.
Sunny Zegarski, who was born at 30 weeks of gestation Dec. 6, 2007, and spent 58 days in the NICU, attended the event with her parents, Michael and Annisha. Sunny weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces, at birth and was 13 inches long. The nurses at the St. Mary NICU taught us everything we needed to know to care for our daughter, including how to hold, diaper, and feed her, Annisha Zegarski said. They were wonderful and really kept us sane through a very stressful time in our lives.
Sunnys parents bring her by the NICU regularly to show the staff how much she has grown. Our patients become like family, and we frequently have parents stop by to visit us and bring in their now healthy children to show us how far they have come, said Prem Marlapudi, MD, medical director of the NICU.
One of the units first patients was Patrick Donohue, who was born at 33 weeks of gestation and spent about 10 days at the NICU. Donohue, now a 19-year-old student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, took part in a cake-cutting ceremony with Marlapudi and the Zegarski family.