Beverly Hospital in Montebello opened its new neonatal intensive care unit Thursday after many years of transferring critically ill and premature babies to other hospitals miles away, marking the occasion with its first temporary residents - twin baby girls.
The $6 million unit includes modern incubators and 10 maternity beds to care for the newborns. It will be part of Beverly Hospital's existing maternity ward, which delivers over 400 babies a year.
"It's so important to the baby's health to have the mom and family to stay together and bond immediately following birth, especially for high-risk babies," said Dr. Shah in a press release. Shah will serve as the medical director for the new unit.
The hospital's original NICU closed over a decade ago because the hospital was unable to sustain the high operational cost, and a new unit has been "on the books for years." The hospital since had to transfer premature or critically ill babies to other hospitals, said hospital spokesman James Chisum.
He said last year, the hospital transferred over 40 children. With no other hospitals in East LA with NICU's, babies would be transported to either the Children's Hospital or another hospital in downtown LA, both over 10 miles away. That made things difficult for families who had babies in care far from where they lived.
"It's not like there are hospitals down the street," said Chisum. "We bring children into the world and it's our job to protect them as much as possible."
The opening of the new unit was celebrated with twin baby girls, who came to the unit Thursday afternoon for a checkup. The twins were born a week ago to a Montebello resident, and were the first babies to use the new unit.