Partnership With John Muir Health Keeps East Bay Preemies Close to Home

Baby Anvi and parents

“First, our baby arrived early. Then, we found out that she had to be transferred to another hospital to get the care she needed. We were so scared!”

Vish recalls the day his baby girl, Anvi, was born in early August 2020. His wife, Anusha, went into labor after only 30 weeks—much earlier than the usual 36–40 weeks. But Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare in Pleasanton, where she gave birth, could only monitor infants at her level of prematurity for a few hours.

“A premature infant needs a high level of care that many NICUs are not prepared to provide,” notes Kirby Jacobs, patient care manager, Critical Care Transport, at Stanford Children’s Health.

Anvi needed to be transferred to a hospital with a higher-level neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Thanks to Stanford Children’s Health’s partnership with John Muir Health, premature babies like Anvi no longer need to be transferred out of the East Bay to receive higher-level care.

The first of its kind in Contra Costa County, John Muir Health’s Pediatric & Neonatal Transport Team is specially trained to stabilize (and even resuscitate) neonates and pediatric patients during interhospital transports. Staffed with registered nurses and respiratory therapists from Stanford Children’s Health, the pediatric-trained transport team acts as an extension of the child’s critical care team during transport to John Muir Health’s NICU and PICU (pediatric intensive care unit)—both of which are also operated through the partnership with Stanford Children’s Health.

“Once Anvi was stabilized at Stanford Health Care ValleyCare, the transport team set her up in a container that looked like an incubator, complete with oxygen,” Vish recalls. The nurse leading the neonatal transport team “made us feel comfortable that everything was under control. Everything went very smoothly during the transport process,” he says.  

Anvi has been in John Muir Health’s NICU for several weeks now, growing and doing well. Vish and Anusha spend eight hours a day with her and have gotten to know all the nurses well. “The nurses in the NICU are all great, and I’m confident that our baby is getting the care she needs from each of them,” says Vish.

Even with the challenge of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Vish feels very comfortable and safe during their extended visits in the NICU. With rigorous safety precautions in place, such as enhanced hygiene protocols, commercial-grade masks, and visitor limitations, Vish feels that “all the safety bases are covered.”

Vish and Anusha look forward to taking their baby home soon. In the meantime, they’re learning all the skills they’ll need when they take care of Anvi on their own: how to change a diaper, mix formula, feed, check a temperature, recognize the signs of discomfort, and more. He says, “We have a checklist for all the things we need to demonstrate we know how to do. Anvi is relying on us!”

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