First For The Future

Campaign for Neonatal Intensive Care 

It was just another January morning... 


"Twenty-three weeks into an uneventful pregnancy, we were happily anticipating the birth of a healthy child in the spring. Then in a flash, our lives veered violently off course.

Suddenly, unexpectedly, I delivered Zachary, an impossibly tiny baby boy. Within hours we were thrown into a nightmare, literally fighting for his survival."

Michelle Gray and her husband never dreamed such a thing could happen to them. They are both young and healthy. There wasn't even a hint that anything might go wrong.

Most of us assume that the arrival of a new baby will be an unclouded joy. And yet one out of every eight newborns is rushed to intensive care. Often this is just the beginning of an unimaginably harrowing journey for both infant and family.

Zachary spent 114 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital with his parents by his side. What gave them hope was the knowledge that their baby was being cared for by the best medical and nursing experts available in a hospital that offered every therapy and technological advantage possible.

Thanks to the physicians, nurses, staff and resources of the NICU, today Zachary is a healthy, happy nine-year-old boy.

"We keep pushing the envelope, making survival a reality for more premature and sick babies. But as a result of this success, our patients' conditions are increasingly complex, and the care we must provide has become a great deal more complicated." Matt Bizzarro, MD, Medical Director, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Every newborn, every family, deserves the quality of care — the chance for a future — that Zachary and his parents received.

But even the world’s preeminent hospitals — including YNHCH — can’t maintain that level of quality into the future without the support of individuals who understand that there is nothing more important than the survival and health of our children.

In 1993, when our NICU opened, it was a state-of-the-art facility.

The highest standard of the day called for large nurseries with many beds and just enough space between them to easily wheel in the most modern equipment available at the time. Dozens of care providers worked simultaneously to care for ten or fifteen newborns in each nursery.

Twenty years later, the state of the art has changed.

As technology has progressed, our equipment has gotten bigger and there is more of it for each patient. The population of infants requiring intensive care has increased. Much has been learned about infection control and the damaging effects of constant noise and lighting. It is essential to treat the family as well as the child and to address the very real need of parents to be with their baby.

The NICU we need today and for the future looks very different.

Contemporary innovative units consist of single-patient rooms, each with the necessary space and privacy for baby, family, equipment and environmental controls. Surrounding these rooms are resources that bring services to the baby and minimize transport, including an operating room and parent consultation, education and support space. The benefits of this model are proven and significant, both in terms of the family experience and the medical outcomes.

Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital is launching a campaign to build a new NICU that will support its vision to offer the best in family-centered care, pioneering research and powerful therapies. Our mission remains the same: to provide the best possible outcomes for the lives of the babies that have been entrusted to our care.

We invite you to learn more. 

Your support of this project is the key to getting more newborns home with bright, promising futures ahead of them. 

Please contact Michelle D'Amore and let her know you want to be part of First for the Future.

Tel: 203.688.4035
Email: Michelle.D'Amore@ynhh.org