When Devi Manthiram gave birth to her son, Rivan, last summer, “everything was great,” she recalls. With the assistance of obstetrician Casandra Autry, MD, and the CentraState team, Devi, a first-time mother in her late 30s, experienced the joy – and relief – of delivering a healthy baby boy.
Relief soon gave way to concern, though, when Devi and her husband, Ramakrishnan, took Rivan to a local pediatrician for his first checkup the next day. Rivan’s blood levels of bilirubin, a compound produced by the breakdown of red blood cells, remained stubbornly high. The doctor recommended time in the sun, a common and easily administered treatment for elevated bilirubin levels.
Devi’s intuition told her more was needed. So the Morganville couple decided to get a second opinion from CentraState pediatrician Arvind Patel, MD. After listening to their concerns, Dr. Patel urged the couple to take Rivan back to CentraState for emergency care.
Addressing High Bilirubin
Nearly all newborns experience elevated levels of bilirubin, the yellowhued pigment that causes jaundice. In most cases, the compound is metabolized by the liver and passed as waste from the body. In others, however, bilirubin continues to accumulate in the body, and in high concentrations can cause brain damage.
Back at CentraState’s Emergency Department, testing confirmed that Rivan’s bilirubin levels were not just high but still rising. For treatment, he was moved to the hospital’s Special Care Nursery. Staffed with dedicated neonatologists, the Special Care Nursery is equipped to provide around-the-clock intensive care for a variety of conditions, from low birthweight and infections to breathing and blood sugar issues.
For Rivan, the underlying culprit was dehydration. He received IV fluids and formula to temporarily supplement breastfeeding, and Devi received personalized support from a lactation consultant so she could resume full breastfeeding.
Rivan was also treated with phototherapy, a technology that uses artificial light to expedite the breakdown of bilirubin. After two days in the Special Care Nursery, his bilirubin levels began to fall. By day three, he had made a full recovery.
“It’s not uncommon for a baby to return to the hospital to receive care for high bilirubin levels,” says neonatologist Kazimierz Watorek, MD, who cared for Rivan at the Special Care Nursery. “We’re here to support new parents and their babies in all the ways they need during the early days of life.”
At every step, the compassion and expertise demonstrated by the CentraState team was “fantastic,” says Devi – from the ongoing care provided by her longtime OB/GYN with Women’s Health Specialists of CentraState, Angela Markman, MD, to the hospital staff.
“Trusting others when you are vulnerable can be hard,” Devi says. “But at CentraState, I didn’t feel that way. The team was there for me through all my highs and lows. To experience that – especially at your weakest moment – it means everything.”
What is a Special Care Nursery?
A Special Care Nursery – also called a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – cares for premature babies who are stable but have additional health needs before they go home. It also provides treatment for conditions such as jaundice, low oxygen levels, or the need for antibiotics.
CentraState’s Special Care Nursery team cares for babies born after 32 weeks of pregnancy who require close observation or other special attention. Newborns up to 28 days old who are admitted to the Emergency Department are also stabilized and cared for in the Special Care Nursery.
Who needs a Special Care Nursery?
Newborns with health issues such as low birthweight, trouble feeding or gaining weight, jaundice, low blood sugar, or breathing problems may require care in the Special Care Nursery.
Personalized care for newborns
Neonatal care is steps away and often on hand to assist in labor and delivery.
- Personalized care keeps babies close to mom and family.
- A neonatologist is on staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our nurses have focused training in neonatal intensive care.
- The team helps educate the family on infant care to be confident and prepared to go home.
Learn more about maternity services at CentraState at centrastatematernity.com or 866-CENTRA7 (866-236-8727).