Published on January 15, 2020

Hospital celebrates 10-year anniversary for NICU

By Katie Pickens, Owensboro Times

baby wearing hat

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital celebrated the Neonatal, Intensive Care Unit’s 10-year anniversary Wednesday with balloons, a speech from President & CEO Greg Strahan and dozens of hospital staff who have worked closely with infants in the NICU.

Strahan said establishing a NICU at OHRH 10 years ago had been a wonderful decision for the community and the hospital.

“Ten years ago we invested in this high-quality program called NICU,” Strahan said. “We have served, since that time, 3,000 babies — 300 babies a year. That’s an amazing, amazing accomplishment when you start from scratch, really.”

OHRH’s NICU is the region’s largest provider of Level 3 Neonatal care, and having a local NICU benefits hundreds of local families each year, Strahan said.

“Having it here allows families to stay close to home, to cut costs because they have all the access they need to these services,” he said. “They avoid those expenses of travel, and hotel bills, and the like because they can see their babies and be closer to them, which we all appreciate as fathers and mothers.”

NICU was designed with the families in mind, Strahan said, allowing for better access and more family time at much-needed times in the infants’ lives. NICU nurses serve as caregivers but have also developed strong friendships with a wide population of people.

“That’s been evidenced by the number of times we’ve had the annual NICU reunion — we had over a thousand last year,” he said.

An art project was unveiled at Wednesday’s celebration that included 48 different hand-painted canvases from NICU graduates. Former patients were able to paint their own individual canvas and create a single mural that now hangs in the hallway of OHRH’s NICU.

Neonatologist Bridget Burshear said it takes dedicated OHRH employees from a dozen different departments to keep the NICU going strong day by day.

“Having the willingness to start the unit has been a huge asset,” Burshear said. “All these people here played a role in this. There are so many people involved in NICU.”

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital; Owensboro Health Twin Lakes Medical Center; the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 200 providers at more than 20 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a surgical weight loss center and program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.

On average each year, we have 16,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 24,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 200 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 70,000 Emergency Department visits, more than a million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.