Winchester Hospital Hosts 23rd Annual Special Care Nursery Reunion
Rachel Zazzaro of Woburn was 29 weeks pregnant when she went into labor and was taken to Winchester Hospital. Her son was born on April 8, 2012 – Easter – and spent the next 11 weeks in the hospital.
In Winchester Hospital’s Level II B Special Care Nursery, David’s prematurity required close monitoring and medical support. Many milestones needed to be met and maintained before he could be discharged home.
“We are very thankful for the wonderful care we received at Winchester Hospital,” said Dominic Zazzaro. “We learned so much of how to take care of David – changing his diaper, feeding him from a bottle – from the nurses that took care of him.’
The Zazzaro’s were among about 200 families who attended the 23rd annual Special Care Nursery reunion on Sunday, Sept. 16 at Winchester Hospital. The event featured games, live children’s music and refreshments.
Whether the babies spent days, weeks or months in the unit, each family had a unique and special story.
“We were lucky to be at Winchester Hospital,” said Melrose resident Heather Zayac, whose daughter – Emalyn – spent several days in the Special Care Nursery. “Everyone explained what was going on every step of the way, easing my concern. I am forever grateful to the staff.”
Winchester Hospital’s Special Care Nursery provides care for premature and full-term babies who need extra assistance after birth. Of more than 300 newborns admitted to the 16-bed facility each year, about 80 percent are born at Winchester Hospital, with the remaining 20 percent transferred from Boston hospitals. Since its inception in 1988, Winchester Hospital’s Special Care Nursery has treated more than 7,000 babies who are low birth weight, born prematurely, unable to feed on their own or simply need additional care. It is one of only a few Level II hospitals in the state that offers continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to assist infants with respiratory distress.
Flanked by poster boards featuring photographs of smiling children of all ages, families at the Special Care Nursery reunion took photographs and videos as physicians and nurses embraced child after child, marveling at how far they’ve come.
“It is so gratifying to come back after all the hard work to see these children growing and thriving,” said Kimberlee Chatson, MD, associate director of Winchester Hospital’s Special Care Nursery, whose 11-year-old son is a graduate of the unit. “It’s the most meaningful part of the work.”
Karen McAlmon, MD, a neonatologist and medical director of Winchester Hospital’s Special Care Nursery, said the medical staff looks forward to the reunion each year.
“It’s great to see these children happy and healthy,” she said. “And for the parents, they can come and see kids at all different ages. It helps give them perspective and a chance to network with other moms.”
About Winchester Hospital
Winchester Hospital is the first community hospital in Massachusetts to earn Magnet® recognition, the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s highest honor for nursing excellence. As the northwest suburban Boston area’s leading provider of comprehensive health care services, the 229-bed facility provides care in general, bariatric and vascular surgery, orthopedics, cardiology, pulmonary medicine, oncology, radiation oncology, gastroenterology, urology, gynecologic urology, rehabilitation, pain management, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics and a Level IIB Special Care Nursery. Winchester Hospital has clinical affiliations with several nationally recognized hospitals in the region, including Boston Children’s Hospital, Tufts Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. To learn more, visit www.winchesterhospital.org.
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Expectant parents are invited to tour Winchester Hospital’s Mother Baby Unit every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, with a group leaving at 6 p.m. from the lobby of the main campus at 41 Highland Avenue in Winchester. Registration is not required.