The NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Centre has concluded another successful year, treating 300-400 newborns, including premature babies weighing as little as 2 pounds.
In the past month alone, the NICU has been operating at full capacity, with 13 new tiny preemies. In some hospital NICUs, this is the annual average.
Dr. Yaakov Herzlich is one of the three senior neonatologists in Mayanei Hayeshua’s world famous NICU. Dr Herzlich, who studied in yeshiva before turning to medicine and specializing in paediatrics and neonatology, is understandably proud of the NICU’s professional achievements. “While every hospital department rightly claims to be unique, there is something about our tiny patients that demands extra special attention. For example, we keep the lights always dimmed, so as to prevent over-stimulation to the brain which could cause unnecessary damage. Our phenomenal success has recently prompted Israel’s Health Ministry to recommend that the professional treatment model that we have developed here in our NICU should be replicated in all NICUs throughout Israel.”
Another important part of the process involved in accepting a new preemie to the NICU is providing early care and protection. Dr Herzlich explains: “We find that preemies coming straight from the delivery rooms or Operating Theater to the NICU with a low body temperature, typically experience greater intraventricular hemorrhage, with their body temperature dropping very quickly and significantly. In the past, we would have seen preemies arrive at the NICU with a body temperature of 34.9-35°F, so it is critical to maintain the babies’ body temperature immediately after birth. Now we receive them into the NICU with a standard body temperature of 36.5°F! This past year, we recorded zero grade 3 or grade 4 brain bleeds. We are sending babies home healthy and whole. This is a very satisfying achievement.”
Dr Herzlich adds: “One of the many benefits of being a paediatrician working in a community hospital like Mayanei Hayeshua is that I get to see healthy children who are ‘graduates’ of our NICU.”
Ever striving for excellence, as part of Mayanei Hayeshua’s development plans, an expanded NICU will in the future also treat cases with complex heart and nervous system problems.
In the last week of November 2019, Professor Rael Strous, the South African-born medical director of Mayanei Hayeshua’s Mental Health Centre, and professor of psychiatry at Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Medicine, was in London for a busy round of meetings and events organised by the British Friends of Mayanei Hayeshua.