Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital Celebrates Patient and Caregiver Reunions at the Houston Zoo
Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), one of the largest in the nation, hosted its 4th Annual NICU Patient and Caregiver Reunion at the Houston Zoo’s Mashira Pavillion.
Dressed in Halloween costumes and festive fall attire, patients and their families came excited to reunite with their NICU caregivers and physicians. Families like the Aggours, with quadruplets—Deen, Kareem, Omar and Saif—along with sister Tamara, father Tamir, and mother Marwa, celebrated and enjoyed socializing over snacks, music and activities, including a photo booth, face-painting, pumpkin-painting, a bouncy house, carnival games, and much more. In addition, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital’s official mascot, Topper, greeted and entertained guests throughout the event.
“During the time that babies stay in our NICU, I feel like I become part of their family,” said Nicole Francis, director of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. “It’s really special having the opportunity to keep up with my extended NICU family over the years.”
Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital’s NICU provides the full range of care for neonates born prematurely or with congenital birth defects, infection, metabolic problems or other medical or surgical needs. The nursery is equipped to care for premature babies born as early as 23 weeks of gestation and weighing as little as one pound. We provide specialized respiratory care, including high-frequency ventilation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and intensive monitoring. The NICU is known for the special attention it provides to the entire family. This includes kangaroo care while the infant is in the unit and overnight care by the family in parent rooms, which offer a secure environment prior to discharge.
After a morning of fun, the party continued with the 2nd Annual Pediatric Epilepsy Reunion also for patients and their families, caregivers and physicians. The event was sponsored by Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, Memorial Hermann Mischer Neuroscience Institute at the Texas Medical Center, VNS Therapy by Cyberonics, Lundbeck and Upsher-Smith.
Takijah Heard, M.D., UTHealth pediatric neurologist affiliated with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and the Memorial Hermann Mischer Neuroscience Institute, caught up with one of her favorite patients, 22-month- old Brynnley O’Leary, and her mom, Courtney O’Leary.
“Pediatric epilepsy patients experi- ence seizures at any time, which can be devastating for these families,” said Heard. “It’s really important for families and patients like Brynnley to have a forum in which they can interact and provide that necessary support to one another.”
Two-thirds of epilepsy cases are caused by an unclear reason and the seizures are treated by antiepileptic medications. The expertise of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Level IV comprehensive pediatric epilepsy center, recognized by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, is applied to treat epilepsy in its multitude of presentations. In collaboration with UTHealth Medical School, the pediatric epileptologists affiliated with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and Memorial Hermann Mischer Neuroscience Institute specialize in comprehensive epilepsy care at the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU). The EMU is a large, family-friendly unit with specialized equipment to help identify the type of seizures and the brain location from which they originate, and to aid in the delivery of an individualized epilepsy treatment plan.