bridgeport hospital nicu

Preparing to cut the ribbon for the new NICU were (l-r): Steve Jakab, Bridgeport Hospital Foundation president; Bill Jennings, Bridgeport Hospital CEO; Julie Brown, RN, YNHCH associate director of Pediatrics; benefactor Simin Allison; Robert Herzlinger, MD; Cynthia Sparer, senior vice president, YNHH and executive director, YNHCH and Women’s Services; Marianne Hatfield, RN, vice president of Patient Services, YNHCH and Women’s Services; Pam Scagliarini, Bridgeport Hospital chief operating officer; and Harris Jacobs, MD, chair of Pediatrics.

YNHCH Bridgeport Hospital Campus opens updated Neonatal ICU

The modernized Allison Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is now open at the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital’s Bridgeport campus.

Hospital leaders and physicians held a Feb. 14 ribbon-cutting to celebrate the new NICU, dedicated to Robert Herzlinger, MD, the unit’s medical leader for more than 40 years. The project was funded entirely through $7 million in donations to the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation, including a $3 million naming gift from the Allison family of Westport.

“The NICU project significantly enhances the already exceptional care provided to our tiniest patients and their families,” Dr. Herzlinger said. “We can never entirely remove the fear and anxiety parents feel when their child is in the NICU, but these improvements will make the experience more comfortable and easier to bear.”

“From the new medication and formula preparation room to the advanced technology in monitoring and responding to infants’ needs, the new NICU enhances nurses’ ability to provide safe, efficient care,” added Julie Brown, RN, longtime nurse manager of the Bridgeport NICU and YNHCH associate director of Pediatrics.

The new unit includes 10 private rooms and eight semi-private rooms. Individual or private rooms have been shown to reduce infections, encourage breastfeeding, allow families to stay with their infants and improve long-term outcomes for newborns, Dr. Herzlinger said.

The unit also has a new overnight room for families. Softer lighting and noise-reduction measures have been added to treatment areas to create a calmer, more healing environment to promote babies’ development. A new central nurses’ station allows for easier monitoring, which helps staff identify and quickly respond to infants’ needs.

“Family-centered care is so important to the healthy development of our premature babies,” said neonatologist Cheryl Menzies, MD. “The new NICU has larger, more private patient areas to promote that safe, high-quality, family-centered care.

Bridgeport Hospital’s first NICU was established in 1972 and upgraded in 1998. In 2012, through the hospital’s membership in Yale New Haven Health, the NICU and other pediatric services were consolidated under Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. This brought a wider range and higher level of subspecialty services, including an outpatient subspecialty center at Park Avenue Medical Center in Trumbull.