Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s staffers, donors and parents celebrated on Monday the transfer of 50 premature infants to the new, ninth-floor neonatal intensive care and intermediate care units in the NIS 130 million Next Generation building adjacent to the main building.

The entire facility will be completed by the end of this year and include spacious, cheerful obstetrics wards for new mothers, neonatal wards for regular- sized newborns and pediatrics wards for children of all ages.

The wheeling of the incubators filled with premature babies was presided over by SZMC director-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy and Prof. Francis Mimouni, the new head of neonatology since January.

Mimouni, who specializes in the care of infants born before they reach full term, was previously head of pediatrics at SZMC and then moved to Tel Aviv Sourasky’s Dana Children’s Hospital, but he returned to the Jerusalem medical center to run the new facility.

The space emptied out following the transfer will be turned in the next nine months into around a dozen new delivery rooms at SZMC and other facilities.

The hospital already (with Bikur Cholim Hospital, which it operates) delivers a total of 20,000 infants annually, more than any other medical center in the world.

Besides the preemies, the Next Generation building will also treat around 150 children of all ages by the end of this year.

“I wish that Hadassah overcomes this crisis and that it be the best. Competition is wonderful – and we will be even better,” Mimouni smiled. “We added 10 manpower slots of nurses and three of physicians from other parts of the hospital.”

The neonatal intensive care facility, which respirates tiny newborns, has only two incubators per room, at a distance of 1.6 meters from each other, and the intensive-monitoring section has six beds per room. This means that more infants will survive and thrive, as one of the biggest dangers in neonatal intensive care is preventing nosocomial (in-house) infections spread easily by close proximity. These infections are common in other hospitals and take a heavy toll on premature newborns, according recent State Comptroller reports.

SZMC has even ordered a magnetic-resonance instrument (MRI) specifically for newborns -- the first in Israel and one of the few of its kind in the world. This is necessary, said Mimouni, not only to save their lives but also to prevent brain damage from lack of oxygen and treat internal bleeding and infections.

Most of the doctors and nurses who transferred the incubators and tiny beds had tears of joy in their eyes and goosebumps on their arms, said Mimouni. “We thank God for such a happy event. This place will be a great treatment tool for us.”

Halevy told the Post that the whole New Generation building , including its planning, construction and equipment, has been made possible with $130 million raised by SZMC. Donations for the neonatal section were funded by major donations from Murray and Laura Huberfeld of New York, Linda and Murray Laulicht of New Jersey and the nephew of Harvey Felsen, in his memory.
 


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