FROM NARENDRA KINI, MD, MHA, President and CEO, Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital
An expectant mother learns at 18 weeks gestation that her unborn baby has a significant heart condition – a transposition of the great arteries – that will require immediate surgery after birth. Another mother finds out five months into her pregnancy that her baby-to-be has a heart block requiring surgical implantation of a pacemaker within hours of birth. The fear and uncertainty these families confront is compounded, knowing their newborns will need to be transferred emergently to a pediatric care facility for life-saving treatment as soon as they enter the world, separating a family at one of the most stressful of times.
Some babies with complex cardiac conditions can only be saved if they are within a pediatric cardiac center within minutes of birth, which is not possible with a transfer from even the closest obstetrical unit. These babies and families can face a lifetime of challenges, or even death, caused by delayed treatment.
In order to ensure that babies like these receive the care they need, Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, has made a request of the legislature to allow us to provide birthing services for mothers expecting high-risk infants. We wish to thank Florida State Rep. Eduardo "Eddy" Gonzalez (District 111) and State Senator Anitere Flores (District 39) for their support of House Bill 1159 and Senate Bill 1482, which would create a 10-bed high-risk obstetrical unit for families expecting babies with congenital abnormalities.
Approval of this important measure would give rise to a state-of-the art obstetrical unit designed for at-risk neonates similar to what is available at other top children’s hospitals around the country, including Boston Children’s and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. A collaboration of the family obstetrician, combined with specialized obstetricians /laborists /perinatologists would be on staff, supported by appropriate experienced nursing and care teams.
Current Florida law does not provide a clear path via the certificate of need process to create a high-risk obstetrical unit. The Agency for Health Care Administration has indicated that the only current path would be for Nicklaus Children's to become an adult hospital, which goes against the hospital’s 64-year mission of providing hope to children and families. Similar to legislation passed in 2009 to enable a small population of adults suffering from previously undetected congenital cardiac anomalies to receive care through Nicklaus Children's Heart Program, Nicklaus Children's seeks the opportunity to provide a unique population of expectant mothers with a choice.
Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, is nationally recognized and Joint Commission-accredited for clinical care excellence, and its neonatal and cardiac intensive care units are the first choice of many referring doctors in the region.
Support for House Bill 1159 and Senator Denise Grimsley’s amendment to Senate Bill 1482 is a vote for the region’s most fragile newborns. They deserve a chance to begin life's journey in a care environment that gives them a fighting chance for a healthy tomorrow.
M. Narendra Kini, MD, MPH,
President and CEO
Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital
3100 SW 62nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33155
Phone: 305-666-6511, ext. 2003www.mch.com