LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 14, 2018) – Norton Children’s Hospital has announced a $500,000 gift from BB&T to support a special area for infants in the soon-to-be constructed Jennifer Lawrence Foundation Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU). The gift through the Children’s Hospital Foundation will fund a three-bed section for infants needing heart care.
Every year, more than 5,000 children visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute for specialized heart care. The institute performs more than 17,500 procedures annually that include open heart surgeries, catheterizations, electrophysiology and noninvasive tests, such as echocardiograms.
These numbers include an average of 30 infants a year whose heart issues require surgery within days of birth. Following surgery, they have hospital stays of several weeks and possibly months. During this time, they need special monitoring and even additional procedures to get well enough to go home. Commonly, these babies need extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, a type of advanced life support that provides long-term breathing and heart support. The hospital is an ECMO Center of Excellence as designated by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization.
“A tenant of our mission is to make a real difference in our communities,” said Thomas F. Eller Jr., president, Kentucky/Ohio Region, BB&T. “We are pleased to support this important NICU space within the cardiac intensive care unit at Norton Children’s Hospital. Through our gift we hope to be a beacon of hope, support, care and compassion.”
“We’re grateful to BB&T for seeing the need to support this special area of the hospital,” said Lynnie Meyer, Ed.D., R.N., CFRE, chief development officer, Norton Healthcare. “The critical care that will be provided in these special rooms will make a large difference for our smallest patients recovering from heart surgery.”
BB&T has been a supporter of the Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Piggies for Preemies program, which works with students to fill special piggy banks to raise funds for the neonatal intensive care unit at Norton Children’s Hospital. BB&T also has provided funding to support the hospital’s “Just for Kids” Transport Team and mobile intensive care units. In addition, BB&T employees have volunteered at the hospital as part of the BB&T Lighthouse Project, earning a nomination for the organization’s Spirit Award for their efforts.
Because the number of children needing specialized heart care continues to increase, it has prompted an expansion of heart services at Norton Children’s Hospital, including the construction of the new CICU. The unit was established with a $2 million gift from the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation through the Children’s Hospital Foundation. This unit and renovation of the existing “Just for Kids” Critical Care Center are anticipated to cost nearly $25 million. Norton Healthcare, which owns Norton Children’s Hospital, is committed to supporting the children’s hospital and the Children’s Hospital Foundation in making this renovation and construction project a reality. With BB&T’s most recent donation, the Children’s Hospital Foundation has raised an additional $1.6 million to date.
The Jennifer Lawrence Foundation CICU will feature private rooms dedicated to children recovering from heart procedures, open heart surgery, including heart transplant, heart failure and other conditions requiring intensive care. The 14-bed unit will offer space for families to stay with their children. The entire unit will be staffed by specialists with cardiac critical care training and experience, dedicated nursing staff and other professionals focused solely on heart care. Research has shown that a unit such as this can improve a child’s recovery.
Norton Children’s Hospital has a long history of providing specialized care for children since its predecessor hospital, Children’s Free Hospital, was constructed in 1892. Kentucky’s first pediatric open heart surgery was at the Children’s Hospital in 1957, as was the second successful infant heart transplant in the country in 1986.