ORLANDO, Fla (March 19, 2012) – Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies is announcing plans to expand its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The $13 million expansion will add 30 beds to the unit, making it the largest NICU in the United States.
“Our NICU is one of the busiest in the country and we have to keep looking for ways to meet the needs of the families who turn to us for the care of their babies,” states Kathy Swanson, president of Winnie Palmer Hospital. “This expansion allows us to continue to provide the world-class care our NICU is known for, and it represents exactly what Arnold Palmer said to us when he visited our NICU nearly 30 years ago – ‘we can do better.’”
The current NICU at Winnie Palmer Hospital, named the Alexander Center for Neonatology in honor of neonatology pioneer Gregor Alexander, M.D., holds 112 beds. More than 1,600 babies are admitted into the NICU annually. It is equipped to provide the highest-level of care for high-risk newborns, including babies born prematurely or with congenital heart disease, infections, and various other conditions. Once the expansion is complete, the NICU will hold 142 beds.
David Auerbach, M.D., director of the NICU, says there is a real need for this expansion in order to continue providing advanced care for these miracle babies. “The incidence of premature birth has gone up all over the country, including here in Central Florida. The 30 beds we’ll be adding to the NICU allow us to effectively meet the growing demand we’ve seen in this community.”
The current NICU exists on the third floor of Winnie Palmer Hospital. The expansion will take place on the eleventh floor of the hospital, which was originally shelled in anticipation of future expansion needs. Completion of the expansion is expected in 2014.
Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies
Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, supported by the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation, is a 285-bed facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of women and babies. The hospital includes comprehensive fetal diagnostics and labor and delivery services, a regional center for neonatal intensive care, maternal intensive care and women’s services. Annually, more than 13,000 babies are expected to be born at Winnie Palmer Hospital, making it the busiest labor and delivery unit in the state of Florida. To learn more, visit www.winniepalmerhospital.com.