The Section of Neonatology is committed to maintaining the highest quality of neonatal care to critically-ill infants, providing training for qualified pediatricians for careers as independent investigators, teachers and clinicians, and promoting high research productivity to contribute in the creation of new knowledge and patient-oriented research studies to improve clinical care.
The Section of Neonatology runs one of the premier neonatal intensive care units in the United States. Its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) contains 47 designated tertiary care beds (Level III) and 18 convalescent (Level II) beds. Each year, the NICU admits over 1,000 patients accounting for more than 20,000 bed-days every year. Of the 1,000 infants admitted, 95 percent survive to be discharged home, reflecting a birthweight specific mortality that ranks with the leading neonatal centers in the country. Reflecting both the volume and illness severity of our NICU population is the fact that nearly one-half of one percent of all extremely low birthweight infants (BW <1000 grams) born in the United States are cared for at the University of Chicago.
In a joint operation, the Section of Neonatology and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology serve as the state-designated tertiary referral center for eight community hospitals in Chicago and its suburbs, known as the University Of Chicago Perinatal Center. The center is responsible for more than 18,000 births annually.
The clinical service is performed in the all new Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago, a state-of-the-art facility where critically-ill infants are offered innovative modes of intervention, including:
- pre- and post-operative surgical care for pediatric congenital disorders;
- ECMO which can be provided for up to three infants at a time with a special group of technicians supplementing NICU nursing staff;
- nitric oxide treatment for babies with hypoxic respiratory failure;
- oscillator support for babies with severe air leak syndrome;
- on demand EEG and the capability for 24-hour EEG monitoring.
Infants who spend time in the NICU receive specialized follow-up care after they are discharged. The Center for Healthy Families provides comprehensive healthcare including those of a general pediatrician, neonatologist, nurse educator, social worker, dietitian, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech therapist and home health nurse. In a single visit, a family may receive services from one or all of the professionals.