STATE of the art neo-natal center in Tulsa

Thursday, November 8th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa hospital is helping critically ill newborns get a fighting chance at a healthy life. In fact it's the only one of its kind in Green Country. It's called the Neo-natal unit at St Francis Hospital. News on Six reporter Heather Brooker explains how this care is saving the lives of newborns.

The Cockrell family might say three is their lucky number. They've been married three years, and just had three babies, who've been in the neo-natal unit at Saint Francis for three weeks. New mother Jonna Cockrell says her babies were born much earlier than expected. "It was sudden. I was in my doctors office by noon and by 6:30 I had three babies." Jackson, Brice and Alexandria were born 12 weeks early. That's why they're here where doctors and nurses can keep a close eye on their progress. Doctor Al Eldemerdash says the unit was created for cases like this and those more severe. "We can take care of babies with heart problems we can do heart surgeries if necessary and we can provide the adequate monitoring too."

The pictures on these walls tell the story of children who've come into the unit in need of critical care. As you can see they were treated and have gone on to live happy and healthy lives. Eldemerdash says that's because the unit is the only one in the area to use an ECMO, it provides help for heart and lung patients. The unit's equipment is so state-of-the-art; some newborns are transported here from other hospitals. "We do have a transport team that will go into any other hospital in the eastern half of Oklahoma if we do have a sick new born baby who needs a higher level of care."

It's that level of care the Cockrell's say will always remind them, good things come in threes. The neonatal unit was the first facility to use nitric oxide to treat lung disease in newborns. They also use special ventilation machines, which provide short, quick breaths for babies who have difficulty breathing on their own.

And by the way, the Cockrell's hope to take their babies home by Christmas.