Special Care For Special Deliveries
Born four months premature, Da'kahri Bolton weighed just 1 pound, 7 ounces and could fit in the palm of a hand. Decades ago, Da’kahri’s future would have been grim. But following his birth at The George Washington University Hospital, he received round-the-clock specialty care at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) there.
“The first time I visited him he was so weak his heart stopped beating,” says his mother, Latise Bolton, of southeast DC. Her daughter, Da’nazh, also was born prematurely and spent more than two months in the NICU.
At birth, Da’nazh weighed just 1 pound, 10 ounces. Unable to breathe on her own at first, she thrived and has grown into a typical, active toddler. “It was easier for me this time because I knew the NICU staff would do all they could for Da’kahri,” Latise says.
Help Starts Right Away
“We start caring for premature and sick babies in the delivery room and continue providing developmentally sensitive care in the NICU until their bodies mature,” says Hany Aly, MD, Director of Newborn Services.
The NICU at GW Hospital offers a unique style of care that features:
- Use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) technique and other less invasive types of breathing support
- Intravenous nutrition
- A dark, quiet environment
- Clustered services and minimal handling to help provide uninterrupted periods of sleep
“Whenever possible, we avoid using ventilators and waking babies frequently to protect their lungs and brains,” Dr. Aly says.
A Positive Outlook
Da’kahri and Da’nazh have come a long way. Dr. Aly expects them to grow and develop normally.
Da’kahri is a growing infant at home, and his sister Da’nazh enjoys doing double Dutch jump roping, dancing and riding a scooter.
“The doctors and nurses in the NICU do a wonderful job caring for sick babies,” Ms. Bolton says. “They kept us informed and helped us bond with the babies.”