About 3500 babies are born in the Barzilai Medical center each year, 800 of them will require special care in the 17 bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) . About 50 of these newborn infants are born at a weight lower than 1500 grams. The healthy full term newborns are transferred from the delivery room to the 40 bed nursery unit for 48-72 hours for checkup and routine tests.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is equipped with state of the art incubators, respirators and monitoring devices. The nurse staff is a highly qualified one and the vast majority has graduated a special course for care of the neonate and the preterm infants. The neonatologists are called upon every difficult delivery, vaginal or cesarian section. Advanced resuscitation devices are available in the delivery room and in the O.R.
All newborns are examined for congenital diseases according to the directives of the Ministry of Health and receive the appropriate vaccinations according to the Ministry of Health vaccine program. In addition, an initial auditory test is conducted in the department.
The medical staff is highly aware of safety issues concerning newborn treatment inside and outside the department, and make sure that parents are given guidance about infant safety in the department, at home and in the vehicle.
The mortality rate of preterms below 1500 grams in the NICU has been among the lowest in Israel during the last few years. This fact was mentioned in the report issued by the Women and Children’s Health Research Unit of the Gartner Institute.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit excels in its caring, warm and humane attitude towards the newborns ans their parents. Parents are permitted to visit their child at any hour of the day without limitations, and the staff encourages the connection between the parents and the preterm newborns, a connection that aids in the proper development of the infant. The medical staff encourages breast-feeding, acts to guide the mothers about this subject and emphasizes the importance of breast feeding, both from the emotional aspect and the contribution to the infant's development.