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Children's Health

"Kangaroo care" and an extraordinary NICU help a preemie and his mom thrive

"I first held Dean when he was under 2 pounds, and I was terrified. He was so fragile," Corinne Libby Nossaman says.

She was in her 24th week of pregnancy when preeclampsia led to her hospitalization at Katz Women’s Hospital at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Four weeks later, Dean, was born, weighing 1 pound, 9 ounces.

He spent almost three months in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

Compassionate care, for newborns and parents alike

“The staff at both Katz and Cohen treated us like family and provided tremendous encouragement and support,” Corinne says.

“They weren’t just caring for Dean’s medical needs,” adds Vaughn Nossaman, Dean’s father and a surgical resident at Nassau University Medical Center. “They were caring for our comfort. We read Dean a chapter of Harry Potter each night. He became known as the Harry Potter boy. Two nurses visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and brought him back a tiny Gryffindor jersey.”

Hank and Ellen Weber Libby, Corinne’s parents, believe the hospitals and their staffs saved the lives of their daughter and grandson. “I’ve never seen a higher level of commitment in a hospital,” says Hank.

Ellen agrees: “We don’t think of Katz and Cohen Children’s as two separate institutions; it is one institution that takes care of mother and child. As a result, our daughter is thriving, our grandson is thriving.”

“Kangaroo care” leads to kangaroo chairs

Corinne and Vaughn practiced “kangaroo care” with Dean, which involves the baby lying on the parent’s bare chest for an hour or more. That close skin-to-skin contact helps regulate the baby’s temperature, heart rate and breathing. It also prepares the infant for breastfeeding when the time comes.

The Nossamans and hospital staff agreed that the “kangaroo care” Dean received was instrumental in his development.

To honor the extraordinary level of care mother and child received at Katz and Cohen Children’s, the Nossamans and Libbys decided to purchase specially designed kangaroo chairs for the NICU. “Kangaroo care was the one thing I could do to care for my son,” says Corinne, “so it was important to me. I hope that the chairs will make a huge difference, permitting parents to be more comfortable as they snuggle for long stretches of time with their little ones.”

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