Best Children's Hospitals: Neonatology

Filed under: Health, Health & Safety: Babies, Medical Conditions

University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital neonatalogy

Credit: University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital

When your child is ill, only the best care is good enough. So we're highlighting the hospitals that are leading the way in research, innovation, treatment and, most importantly, patient care. This is the ninth in the series on best children's hospitals in the United States.

It's a nightmare no parent wants to experience: Your brand-new baby is in distress and must be rushed to neonatal intensive care (NICU). It's a terrifying and confusing time, but parents need to know they can draw strength when their infant is in the care of a neonatal care team that is skilled at helping critically ill and unstable babies.

"The most important thing we can do is offer hope to parents and families who have desperately ill infants," says Maria Delivoria-Papadopoulos, M.D., Chief of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, and a recent recipient of a lifetime achievement award for her dedication to improving the odds for at-risk newborns.

Every day, some 1,400 babies are born weeks too soon, requiring neonatal hospital care. The good news is that hospitals across the country are doing their best to make sure that these babies and their families are taken care of.

Here's a look at three of the top neonatal children's hospitals in this country:

Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital at University Hospitals Case Medical Center
, Cleveland, Ohio
Rainbow Babies is consistently ranked as one of the leaders in neonatal care. It's
the primary teaching hospital of Case Western Reserve University and takes care of about 10,000 newborns, infants, children and adolescents annually. In 2009,
the hospital ranked No. 2 in neonatal care in the U.S. News survey and its new $26.2 million state-of-the-art NICU building includes many technological advances and neonatal firsts, along with single rooms for each baby, where parents can be with their newborn around the clock. The new facility also features the first surgical operating table developed for preemies and newborns, which was designed by the Rainbow staff.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
This hospital has been recognized by several of the ranking organizations as a leader in neonatal care. It's been lauded as the nation's only regionalized system of neonatal care -- an unprecedented collaboration that has significantly reduced infant mortality.
And that's not all: It's one of eight pediatric institutions and 45 hospitals in the nation named a top hospital, based on results of The Leapfrog Group's Hospital Survey. Cincinnati Children's provides care for all newborns in intensive care at all birthing hospitals throughout Ohio and Kentucky, and its neonatologists provide medical direction for newborn intensive care units in hospitals throughout the area. Infants are transferred to Cincinnati Children's for subspecialty services, especially complex surgery for congenital conditions or advanced therapies. Through its fetal care center, the hospital also provides the only comprehensive fetal care services throughout the Midwest.

The Children's National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
This hospital is ranked in the highest category of neonatal hospital care by the American Academy of Pediatrics and it is one of the region's major neonatal referral centers for sick newborns and infants, serving more than 40 area hospitals. It's considered a national leader in neonatal research, with more than 20 basic, translational and clinical research studies in progress, funded by more than $14 million in research grants. In 2005, Children's was the first hospital in the region to offer the March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program, which provides information and emotional support to families while the baby is in the hospital, as the baby heads home and in the event of a newborn death. In May 2009, Children's National opened a new, private-room NICU. Other distinguishing factors that make it a leader in neonatal care:
  • a neonatal nutrition program
  • a neonatal high-risk follow-up clinic in an outpatient setting
  • state-of-the art therapeutic programs for respiratory failure, including nitric oxide and high frequency ventilation programs, along with the newer conventional ventilation modalities
Related: Best Children's Hospitals: Top 3, Best Children's Hospitals: Cancer, Best Children's Hospitals: Digestive and Liver Disorders, Best Children's Hospitals: Diabetes, Best Children's Hospitals: Respiratory Conditions, Best Children's Hospitals: Rehab, Best Children's Hospitals: Orthopedics, Best Children's Hospitals: Neurology

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