Monday, November 29, 2010 - Children Who Beat the Odds Celebrate at Chris Evert Children’s Hospital 27th Annual NICU Reunion

Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Families filled the Chris Evert Children’s Hospital recently as the hospital welcomed past patients to a very special celebration. The 27th Annual Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) reunion was packed with fun activities that included face painting, arts and crafts, and balloon art for NICU grads. These reunions are a special time for families to celebrate with other NICU alumni, and to reconnect with the NICU team. Since the hospital serves a broad geographical area, the reunion is the only time for many families to reunite and see the doctors and nurses that took care of their children.

More than 200 children and families attended the event. “We can see the progress the kids have made since their days in the NICU,” says Dr. David Mendez-Soto, medical director of the NICU. “For us, it’s a joy to see how these children have grown.”

The NICU at Chris Evert Children’s Hospital cares for newborns during the critical time after their birth. Babies in the unit may be premature, or have other health conditions that can be treated most effectively in a highly specialized hospital environment. Babies may spend days, weeks, or even months in the NICU. During this time, families develop a special bond with the doctors, nurses and staff who care for their babies at the hospital.

Mary Osuch, nurse manager, NICU, said, “When infants are brought to the NICU, our nurses get to know each parent and child. A special relationship is created between the staff and families that does not end when the babies leave the unit.”

Over 100 staff members work in the NICU around the clock to meet the needs of patients and their families. Among the staff are neonatologists, neonatal and advanced nurse practitioners, registered and clinical nurses, social workers and case managers. There is also a team of nutritionists, respiratory therapists and physical therapists. This multidisciplinary approach focuses on stabilizing, rehabilitating and successfully transitioning babies and family to the home environment. The unit also provides laser eye treatment for newborns, if needed.

The unit offers 24-hour visitation, which is one way the NICU staff builds strong relationships with parents and family members. Relatives are urged to bring in stuffed animals and family photos to help create a personalized bedside environment. The staff works together to create the highest level of comfort for families.

Broward Health, providing service for more than 50 years, is a nationally recognized system offering world class health care services to our neighbors in South Florida. One of the 10 largest public health systems in the nation, Broward Health includes Broward General Medical Center, North Broward Medical Center, Imperial Point Medical Center, Coral Springs Medical Center, Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Broward Health Weston and more than 30 facilities of the Community Health Services and Broward Health Physician Group. For more information, visit

Left to Right - Johny Tryzmel, MD; Rita Frantz (Pediatric Nurse Administator); Marga Figuerua, MD; Baby Jayden Centeno; Mary Osuch, RN; and Luciano Tanfulla, MD.